Engineering, Passenger Rail

NZTA, NZ Infra to develop competing proposals for Auckland light rail

The New Zealand government will consider separate proposals from a private consortium and its own transport agency, for the City Centre to Māngere Light Rail Project in Auckland.

NZ Infra, a joint venture between the New Zealand Super Fund and Canada’s CDPQ Infra group, has been asked to refine an unsolicited proposal it tabled in May 2018 for the light rail project. The proposal would see the project co-designed with the government but with NZ Infra majority funding the work and taking on the risk.

Meanwhile, the government has also asked the New Zealand Transport Agency – the state-owned transport entity – to develop a more traditional proposal for light rail link.

Transport minister Phil Twyford on August 22 told an Infrastructure New Zealand conference the two proposals were “significantly different”.

“What NZ Infra is proposing has never been considered before in New Zealand,” he said. “[Meanwhile] the NZTA is exploring a range of procurement, financing and delivery models, including alliances and public-private partnerships, and will continue to deliver these.”

NZ Super Fund CEO Matt Whineray said the NZ Infra team was preparing a range of information to provide to the ministry.

“We are pleased to be taking part in the new process being led by the Ministry of Transport to advance light rail in Auckland,” he said.

The NZ Transport Agency said it would also prepare a range of information for the government.

“The Transport Agency has made good progress on the Indicative Business Case for City Centre to Māngere,” NZTA said in a statement.

“While the Transport Agency acknowledges previous market engagement processes undertaken as part of the IBC development, the Agency is now taking part in a new process, and as such will look to engage with advisors and consultants as is appropriate for that process.”

Minister Twyford said a final decision would be made on the project early next year.