Auckland to receive $3b more for transport projects, including aim to boost bus, train trips by 91%

Source: 1News

The Government and Auckland Council have today announced that the city will invest an extra $3 billion into critical transport and infrastructure services over the next 10 years.

The Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) 2021-31 package was announced by Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff, who detailed the mult-focused plan.

The project largely reflects and builds upon the $28 billion 2018 package, which focused on developing a rapid transit network, walking and cycling, safety and unlocking growth. Essentially, today's announcement is a continuation of the 2018 rollout but will add other bonuses to the city's infrastructure and transport services. 

Key benefits for the community include a $1.5 billion investment into local boards and walking and cycling initiatives to see cycleways completed throughout the region.

Bus and ferry services will receive a $1.3 million package to help boost public transport trips by 91 per cent.

And a new Community Connect initiative will give half-price fares for 200,000 Community Services Card holders, which will roll out next year.

Wood said the package continues the work started last term to unlock Auckland.

Light rail from the city centre to the airport was a key election promise by Jacinda Ardern.

“There are a number of projects already underway which are helping with our economic recovery and will reduce congestion, like the Glen Innes to Tāmaki Drive Shared Path, upgrades to SH20B and the Northern Busway extension.

“For the first time we’re turning around transport emissions rising in Auckland. The ATAP 2021-31 package alone would result of around 13 per cent decrease in emissions per capita when compared with the previous package and is projected to increase public transport trips by 91 per cent.

“Alongside our recently announced policies to reduce transport emissions, ATAP could help prevent up to 3.3 million tonnes of carbon emissions in Auckland over the next decade. This is a good first step, but we know we have to do more.

“Our Community Connect concession pilot is going to reduce public transport fares by 50 per cent for community services card holders. This would mean around 2.7 million more public transport trips in Auckland in its first year, helping to ease congestion and reduce emissions.

“Officials have advised it will be ready to roll out by July 2022, but we will be doing everything we can to bring it forward. If successful, we would look to work with other councils to roll it out across the country,” Wood said.

Goff welcomed the ATAP package, saying Auckland has “a huge backlog from years of underinvestment”.

“At $31 billion this is the largest capital programme ever allocated for Auckland transport infrastructure and services,” he said.

“ATAP gives a strong boost to public transport. Public transport, walking and cycling will increase over the next decade from 23 per cent to 29 per cent of morning peak trips, which is good news for addressing the problems of traffic congestion and carbon emissions.

“Particularly welcome in this ATAP is the trial of Community Connect, which will give 200,000 low-income earners a 50 per cent reduction in fares on all trips by train and bus. This is important to the council’s goal of Auckland being inclusive for all its people and will have the further benefits of helping to address traffic congestion and carbon emissions.

“ATAP also aims to reduce the Auckland road toll by 65 per cent by 2031, or around 1700 fewer deaths and serious injuries over the decade.

“To meet Auckland’s projected population growth, the package provides transport infrastructure to bring forward the building of 17,000 new homes in areas of the city that are being regenerated.

Wood said ATAP will help build key infrastructure to support the Auckland Housing Programme.

“The package will support the delivery of over 17,000 Kāinga Ora homes across Tāmaki, Mt Roskill, Oranga and Mangere that would not be able to happen without this investment. This includes intersection upgrades, bus priority measures, walking and cycling bridges over SH20, additional bus lanes in Mangere, and upgrading Middlemore Station."