24 November, 2009
Govt announces $500m for Auckland's electric trains
The electrification of Auckland's rail system is one step closer today, with Cabinet approving funding of $500 million for the purchase of electric trains.
Transport Minister Steven Joyce says the confirmation of this funding will see the procurement process underway early in the new year, with the first electric trains on the ground and operational from 2013.
"After double tracking, electrification is the important next stage in the development of Auckland's rail network. Rail is an increasingly important way for Aucklanders to get to work each day.
"Today's announcement means Auckland can look forward to a fleet of modern electric trains running on a modern and more reliable rail network."
Mr Joyce says further work needs to be done on the day-to-day costs to ensure train services remain affordable as services expand.
"We have the capital side sorted, but there is much further work still to do with the Auckland Regional Transport Authority and the NZ Transport Agency to ensure new levels of service can operate sustainably and with reasonable levels of passenger transport subsidy. I expect that work to be complete within the next six months."
Mr Joyce says the upgrade and electrification of the Auckland rail network will provide for more frequent trains at peak times and help to meet future passenger demand.
"New Zealand's future success is tied to that of Auckland as our largest city and largest local economy. Getting the rail network operating as efficiently as possible is vital to increased economic growth that will deliver flow-on effects for the rest of the country."
The $500 million, by way of a loan to KiwiRail, brings the Crown's investment in the development of Auckland's metro rail system to $1.6 billion, which comprises:
- $600 million for Project DART
- $500 million for the infrastructure required to support electrification
- $500 million for purchase of electric trains.