Public transport groups oppose Auckland light rail

RNZ reports: quote.

Two public transport lobby groups are opposing plans to build a light rail line between Auckland airport and the city centre.

At a public meeting last night, the Public Transport Users Association and NZ Transport 2050 said the government had got it wrong.

In April the government and Auckland Council released the details of a?$30 billion plan for transport in the city. It allocated an initial $1.8bn for a light rail network for trams connecting the city and Auckland Airport.

Paul Miller of NZ Transport 2050 said the trams should be ditched in favour of trains to and from the airport.

“The airport itself is growing rapidly and by 2030 it’ll have 40 million passengers. Auckland will be the only airport of the size of it is with 40 million passengers in the world that only has a light rail connection to the airport.”

Mr Miller said Auckland desperately needed to focus on building infrastructure that would grow with a fast-growing city. end quote.

It seems that the light rail will be out of date before it is even built, with the growing number of international passengers meaning that it will become inadequate very quickly. quote.

The exact route for the airport to city link is yet to be confirmed, however NZTA has said it will connect Queen Street with Dominion Road, Mount Roskill, Onehunga and Mangere.

Niall Robertson has been living near Dominion Road since 1984 and said the light rail line would ruin it.

“It’s an iconic Auckland road, if you let these people loose down here God knows what they’ve got planned other than this,” Mr Robertson said.

Julie Cooke was also concerned about light rail on Dominion Road.

“I think Dominion Road has always had a special character that Auckland’s always been very proud of and I believe a light rail network down the centre will destroy Dominion Road and destroy the character,” Ms Cooke said. end quote.

Not to mention the years of disruption while it is being built. I’m sure I’ve heard this before, but this project is turning into a very expensive white elephant. quote.

Mr Miller and Jon Reeves from the Public Transport Users Association established the group Straight To Airport Rapid Trains (START) in response to the light rail project.

Mr Reeves told the meeting the heavy rail suggestion wasn’t necessarily the solution.

“We aren’t saying we’ve got the solution, what we’re trying to do is reignite the debate publicly about what is best for the airport.” end quote.

I don’t think we need to get too excited. No one seems to have made up their minds yet. Knowing how long it will take to get approvals and consents once a final decision is made, I guess Dominion Road is safe for quite a few years yet.