The New Zealand Government will fund half the cost of Auckland’s City Rail Link (CRL), associate finance minister Steven Joyce and transport minister Simon Bridges have announced.
A deal signed on September 14 between the Government and Auckland Council dictated the Government will fund 50% of the total cost of the project, which is estimated to be between $2.8 billion and $3.4 billion.
Joyce and Bridges said the Government will make its 50 per cent funding progressively available once a Sponsors’ Agreement is in place, outlining the detailed terms of the Government and Council’s partnership to deliver the CRL, including a target cost for the project and framework for responding to cost overruns.
A Sponsors’ Agreement may be in place as early as 2017.
“In January this year, the Prime Minister announced the Government would accelerate delivery of the CRL to help address Auckland’s transport issues,” Joyce said.
“This agreement is an important milestone in the project and it underlines the Government’s commitment to keeping Auckland moving.
“The Heads of Agreement sets out in-principle commitments from Government and Auckland Council, and contains broader funding, governance and risk management arrangements.
“The Heads of Agreement also outlines arrangements for establishing an independent Special Purpose Entity to deliver the CRL, working with Auckland Transport, KiwiRail and others as necessary.”
The CRL is a proposed 3.4 kilometre underground train line linking Britomart station in downtown Auckland, through the CBD, to the existing western line at Mt Eden station.
“CRL is one of Auckland’s top transport priorities,” Bridges said.
“It will double the capacity of the metro rail network and provide significant travel time savings for commuters, particularly those travelling from fast-growing western suburbs.
“The Government’s commitment to the CRL has been driven by strong growth in rail patronage in recent years and the need to provide investment certainty for large-scale property developments around Auckland’s CBD, including around the new and improved stations at Aotea Square, Karangahape Road and Mount Eden.
“The investment in City Rail Link reflects the Government’s strong commitment to meeting Auckland’s transport needs, with improvements to the transport network focused on accommodating the growing population as well as supporting ongoing economic growth.”