Auckland Council has released NZ$500 million in additional funding for the City Rail Link project, after the project’s cost was revised upwards last month by roughly NZ$1 billion.
Auckland mayor Phil Goff welcomed the decision from the Council’s governing body to add funding to the project. The New Zealand Government is expected to match the increase as part of the project’s 50/50 funding arrangement.
“This project is critical to the future of this city,” Goff said. “More than NZ$700 million has already been invested in the first two stages of the tunnel. Without the CRL, Auckland will hit gridlock and the city will grind to a halt.”
The projected cost of the CRL was revised up to NZ$4.419 midway through April, with the project team citing increased construction and ‘non-direct’ costs, and the additional cost of building the project for longer trains.
Mayor Goff said the changes were reasonable.
“A significant part of the cost increase, some $250 million, reflects the need to future proof the tunnels and stations,” he said. “We won’t repeat the mistake of the Harbour Bridge which was built at half of the size it needed to be and had to have major additions made to it within eight years.
“We’ve got one shot at getting the CRL right. Approving additional funding today will ensure that we do.”
Goff said the extra money wouldn’t mean rate increases for Aucklanders.
He said the money was being raised via interest cost savings due to lower market interest rates, a reduction in cash holdings from improved cash management, re-assessment of the valuation of operating commitments which impact on the Council’s debt policy limits.