Auckland's transport future announced

Auckland trains (Newshub.)
Auckland trains (Newshub.)

Auckland Council and central government are on the same page - at last - on Auckland's transport,  after Minister of Transport Simon Bridges and Mayor Len Brown signed an agreement on how Auckland's transport system should develop over the next 30 years.

The joint report, known as the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP), aims to get traffic flowing on the country's most gridlocked streets.

It calls for new congestion charges in the next 10 years. Drivers would pay to travel some roads - and pay more at the busiest times of day.

"Importantly, ATAP has concluded that there needs to be a specific focus on road pricing," says Mr Brown.

"To reduce congestion, Aucklanders need to make different choices about how to travel and at what time of day. Demand management is crucial to achieving this".

"Road pricing offers Auckland a fairer means of funding transport than over-reliance on property rates.  Any revenue raised must go to improvements into the transport system."

New busways, new roads and more electric trains are all part of a $24 billion plan to invest in infrastructure in the next 10 years.

ATAP's investments will include the Northwestern Busway, mass transit on the isthmus, improved access to the airport, another Waitemata Harbour crossing and Penlink.

The package is expected to cost around $24 billion over the next decade, compared with around $20 billion expected to be available under current transport funding plans

However, the second harbour crossing now looks decades away.

The Auckland Plan says it's needed by 2030, however this plan says it won't start until 2038.

And Mayor Len Brown admits that's a compromise.

"Well if you got back to my original promises I would have liked to have seen it about three years in the future," he says, laughing.

All of the proposals outlined in the plan would still need to be approved by the mayor and council - and with fresh elections over the next few weeks, many candidates have their own designs on what it will take to get Auckland moving.

Phil Goff has campaigned on congestion charges, but his plan to build light rail isn't in the works for at least a decade.

And Vic Crone's promised a second harbour crossing 20 years earlier than what's in the plan.

Council and Government are aligned for now - but disagreement could be just a new mayor away.

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