The Green Party has today launched a new campaign to get rail to Albany and Takapuna on Auckland's North Shore by 2030.
In March, Transport Minister Simon Bridges announced that work would restart on a second harbour crossing. However, official briefings released in June show the NZ Transport Agency plans to safe-guard the harbour crossing for a road-only tunnel, meaning the option of connecting rail to the Shore may be shelved completely.
“The Green Party is calling on the Government to make rail the priority for Auckland's second harbour crossing,” said Green Party transport spokesperson Julie Anne Genter.
"Building a rail line is the most cost-effective, sensible way to help more people travel to and from the Shore and avoid congestion.
"The proposed Unitary Plan will see many more people living on the North Shore, particularly around Takapuna, Northcote, Albany, Browns Bay, Mairangi Bay, and even further north. Rail will be essential for North Shore residents travelling to the CBD.
“Auckland’s second harbour crossing will have a life of hundreds of years and will fundamentally shape the future of the city. Investing in rail to the Shore will give more Aucklanders the choice to leave the car at home and take a reliable, fast train into the city and back again.
“Right now the Government is pushing ahead with a plan to build a road-only second harbour crossing, ignoring rail as an option – this is a massive missed opportunity to invest in public transport that works.
“The Government's own analysis shows a road-only tunnel would actually make congestion in central Auckland worse by encouraging another 20,000 people to drive into the city every day as the North Shore’s population grows. It would bring central Auckland to a standstill.
"A rail crossing has the potential to carry three times more people across the harbour at peak hour compared to a road-only tunnel.
“Aucklanders want to be able to catch a train across the harbour. A UMR poll found there was far more support for a rail tunnel than for the Government’s road-only option, and we’re encouraging Aucklanders to get behind our campaign,” said Ms Genter.