Speech to the City Rail Link – Signing of the Project Alliance Agreement
Morena koutou, good morning everyone.
I’d like to acknowledge mana whenua, the iwi of Tamaki Makaurau. Not only for being here today but for the central role mana whenua are playing in all our ambitious projects and the work we are doing to transform our country’s biggest city.
I also want to thank members of the Link Alliance here today as well as Kiwi Rail and Auckland Transport for the very significant role each of you have played in delivering this project.
Collectively, we’re fortunate to have a tremendous consortium working together on City Rail Link, each offering a wealth of experience in delivering large-scale infrastructure.
I’d also like to acknowledge at this important milestone moment that the City Rail Link is in so many ways a break-through project. We are engineering the transition of Auckland from a highly car-dependent city built on a 1950s development model of low-rise suburban expansion and an ever-increasing network of motorways to service it. We are well on the way to becoming a modern international city with a transport system that can give people the mobility that they need to get access to jobs, to education, to community. And to make Auckland’s economy work properly.
I want to also acknowledge all the people who fought to achieve this sea change in transport policy, not least the civil society groups, the bloggers, the activists, the campaigners who raised awareness of this thinking and advocated and lobbied and campaigned. And also the politicians past and present who campaigned on public transport and have won election after election in recent years on public transport and an aspirational platform to deliver Auckland a modern transport system.
And Mayor Goff, I want to acknowledge the leadership that you provide in Auckland in this respect.
City Rail Link milestone
Mā pango, mā whero, ka oti te mahi. By working together, we will get the job done.
Today we’re here to mark a significant milestone in the delivery of the City Rail Link project with the signing of the Project Alliance Agreement.
The City Rail Link sits alongside an entire programme of transport investment -- $28 billion worth of multi modal transport investment that we’ve put together and committed to. Central government and local government together are delivering a co-funded and co-governed 10-year programme of transport investments to get Auckland moving again.
That transport plan sits alongside an even bigger housing and urban development plan to solve the housing crisis in this city, to build whole new communities and to deliver the infrastructure this city needs to grow.
That plan has been signed off by Cabinet and by Auckland Council. So together, Government and Auckland Council are working side by side to build a better Auckland for the 21st Century.
Over the next 30 years, a million more people will call Auckland home and this obviously brings pressures on the infrastructure our citizens rely on every single day.
Gridlock alone is costing the city $1.3 billion of lost productivity every year. Transport – in all its forms - is absolute critical, not only in shaping our city for the future but supporting economic development and jobs. Cities that don’t have a functioning transport system cannot provide people with the mobility they need to get to work every day, to provide firms with access to their customers and their suppliers.
The City Rail Link will provide the equivalent of 16 extra lanes of traffic into the city centre during peak times. What’s more, it will have the effect of doubling the number of people living within 30 minutes of the CBD. That is absolutely critical for productivity and prosperity.
By increasing rail capacity into the city centre – and providing two new stations in the heart of Auckland – the City Rail Link will not only improve the liveability of the central city, but it will supercharge the biggest concentration of jobs in our country.
But the City Rail Link’s benefits will be felt much wider than the city centre. It will effectively double the carrying capacity of the entire rail network, allowing trains to run as frequently as every few minutes in dozens of town centres across the Auckland region. It will also make so many people mobile and make town centres and suburbs more desirable right across our city.
Increasing public transport also has huge benefits for health, safety, the environment and reducing carbon emissions.
But perhaps the single most important benefit the City Rail Link will bring is that it locks in the important role of rail as the trunk architecture of the city’s public transport system. By doubling the capacity of the rail network, it gives us the back bone of a rapid transport system that will deliver people the journey times, the reliability and the efficiency that means that public transport in this city will be so reliable and user friendly that it will be a genuine alternative to taking the car to work.
That is the strategic imperative we face as we build a modern transport network for Auckland. We have to provide a genuine alternative to sitting in traffic on the motorway, and then we know enough people will choose to leave the car at home and the roads will move more freely for those who have to drive.
That my friends is the sustainable fix to the congestion that plagues Auckland.
Our Government is committed to working with Auckland Council and its subsidiaries and the private sector to deliver this incredibly important project. I’m proud and excited to be here today as we declare to the people of Auckland and New Zealand that this important project is well on track for completion in 2024.