Are they still going sofie?
Per kilometre the Vic Park Tunnel is VERY expensive. More expensive than the full Waterview Connection per kilometre. The total cost of the Vic Park Tunnel project is around $430 million.
However, most other CMJ work was predicated upon having the Vic Park Tunnel upgraded, and simply doesn't work until that time (like going from Sh16-SH1 northbound in the evening peak and waiting 20 minutes at the ramp signal). However, if the Vic Park Tunnel had been built as a widening of the existing viaduct it would have destroyed even more of Victoria Park. This park is used by people all over Auckland as it is so central.
I don't think it's really a political issue - the Vic Park Tunnel got consent when Labour was in government. It also got confirmed funding at that time, the only thing National has done is not cancel it.
Sam F, as someone said on another blog:
"If I want to spend $500,000 on a Ferrari but spend $20,000 on a Suzuki because that's all I can afford, have I really saved $480,000?"
James - I think that's where the $240 million of SH16 upgrades come in. Those apply to 8-laning between St Lukes and Te Atatu. I think there are already plans to 6 lane from Te Atatu to Westgate.
If the SH 20 tunnel ever is upgraded to 6 lanes those lanes will need to go somewhere, so SH16 between St Lukes and Te Atatu might go to 10 lanes and then we'd 8 lane to Westgate, but then we'd need to 6 lane SH18.....
Hmmmm..... anyone else see the problem here?
Thanks for the kind words Russell. It has certainly been one hell of a week.
The fight has only just begun though. The next important step is to avoid this project being fast-tracked through some 'call in' process that will lock people out of having their voice heard at the local level.
Nick Smith's reading of the RMA Amendment Bill does not fill me with confidence though
The first tranche of reforms deals with projects of national significance. There are real problems in how long it takes to get major infrastructure projects through under the consenting process, particularly as they have to go through a local consenting process and, inevitably, end up at the Environment Court. We need only look at examples—such as the Albany to Pūhoi realignment B2 (ALPURT B2) in Auckland, which took nearly a decade, and the Wellington City bypass, which took 17 years—to see the need for reform.
The tricky balance we need to recognise is that these projects have both a local and a national dimension to them. It is a gross simplification to say they are all either national or local. That is why this bill takes an innovative approach in creating a single board of inquiry, but with the capacity of local authorities to nominate board members on to those boards, and also an amendment to ensure that local knowledge is an important factor. The bill provides for a single-step process that recognises both the local and national dimensions of projects.
The boards will be chaired by a current or retired Environment Court judge to ensure independence. There are tight timelines of 9 months for reaching a decision, and restrained appeal rights, to ensure that we can build important infrastructure for our country.
So... no local hearing, a strict 9 month time limit on the consent process and limited rights of appeal.
Thinking about establishing some sort of "stop the motorway" association - my boss talked to Duncan McDonald from the Avondale Business Association this morning. Anyone else interested?
Well to be honest I wouldn't build the Avondale-Southdown railway line until after a CBD loop, rail to the airport, turning the northern busway into a railway line AND building a Botany/Howick railway line.
It may be an important freight line in the future, but as for passenger trains generally cross-town routes aren't particularly popular internationally.
We have more pressing rail needs.
Paul - yes I guess you could run the conspiracy theory argument. But what I don't get in that regards is why the Road Transport Forum doesn't support public transport, as better public transport would surely reduce the congestion which holds up shifting freight?
Sofie - I am a bit worried about the railway designation (more talk on it here: http://transportblog.co.nz/2009/05/14/another-waterview-connection-post/ ). It seems like life will be difficult for Ontrack to ever build the Avondale-Southdown railway line as most of their designation will have been eaten. Maybe NZTA will ensure that their designation is wide enough to provide for a rail alignment, but that might get messy from a legal perspective as NZTA are not the proper requiring authority for railway works (and therefore wouldn't be able to designate for railway purposes).
Richard - there already is a railway designation though. Therefore, if Steven Joyce was interesting in a balanced transport policy he COULD instruct Ontrack to prepare designs for the Avondale-Southdown railway line, put in an Outline Plan of Works to Auckland City and start building the line in a few months time. Easy peasy. Annoyingly, this motorway looks like it will make that task - if it ever happens - much harder.
Rhema - you make an interesting point. What is obvious (now) is that the NLTF can support $1.4 billion in roading expenditure for the Waterview Connection. Given that the cost of building the full tunnels plus the SH16 upgrade would be ($1.98b + $240 million) $2.38 billion, only a billion would need to be borrowed. So therefore financing would only need to be paid on a billion and not on $2.38 billion. Finance costs seem to be around 23% of the construction cost ($550 million of $2.38 billion), so that would mean around $230 million of finance cost would be necessary - not $550 million.
So we add that up and we realise that the full tunnels could be built for $1.98 billion construction, $240 million SH16 upgrade and $230 million financing. That comes to a total of $2.45 billion, not $2.77 billion. There's still a difference of around $1 billion, but not the $1.5 billion rubbish being thrown about.
He has a Gold Card?
Gold-cards are only valid after 9am. This was before.
Ontrack have the designation. NZTA would only be able to build within their designation if Ontrack agree to it.
So either Steven Joyce put the hard word on Ontrack, or they're just being screwed.
I am guessing that this bill is being passed under urgency as otherwise there'd not be enough time for the transition board to do all its work before the 2010 election.
However, there are some big issues with it:
1) It does create a fait accompli situation where an "Auckland Council" is locked in as an entity, which limits the options available in part 2 of the Auckland reorganisation.
2) The transition board seems to have very little oversight of it, and will be able to limit what councils can to do a pretty extreme extent.
I'm not a fan of urgency, but at the same time I feel suspicious that even bills that go to a select committee won't end up actually having much changed from the input of public submissions. I await to be hopefully proven wrong with regards to the RMA Amendment bill.