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Need for Auck Airport light rail agreed

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 24/03/2017

Auckland Mayor Phil Goff is welcoming agreement on the need for a light rail service to Auckland Airport but timing remains an issue.

The NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport have agreed to a transition from bus to light rail between the city's centre and airport.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges says it's a significant decision and route protection will now begin.

Mr Goff says it's great that there is now agreement on the need for light rail but there are big issues to resolve.

Developing bus lanes is consistent with later conversion to a light rail service, he says.

"However if light rail is needed within just a few years, there is a question as to why we shouldn't just move immediately to that solution."

There is an urgent need to find new revenue streams to fund the project, he says.

With nearly 18 million passenger arrivals a year at Auckland Airport, a mass transit alternative to growing gridlock is critical, Mr Goff says.

Labour MP Phil Twyford says the agreement between Auckland Transport and NZTA to build light rail from the CBD down Dominion Rd to Mt Roskill and on to the airport is welcome news but the 30 year wait isn't.

"It's time for National to stop putting the handbrake on this crucial piece of infrastructure, and commit funding for it now.

"The officials have decided light rail needs to happen, but it needs political leadership. Once again, National is kicking the can down the road, rather than making the investments we need now."

It's estimated cost is about $1 billion. The NZTA ruled out heavy rail last year, estimated to cost more than $2 billion.

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