Auckland Transport signs off new $16.5 billion ten year budget

Auckland Transport (AT) has approved a brand new $16.5 billion 10-year budget.

Majority of the money is dedicated to improving roads and travel times across the city along with plans to increase public transport and reduce congestion using intelligence technology. 

The Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) is a new proposal introduced by the Government, Auckland Council and AT in April, after an earlier version was rejected by the Government in January. 

The former proposal reportedly didn't meet the priorities of the council and the new Labour-led Government. The Government wants to accelerate Auckland's public transport, encourage walking and cycling, and improve health, safety and access for Aucklanders. 

More than $10 billion has been allocated to capital expenditure and another $6.5 billion toward running costs in the new budget. 

Around $173 million has been put aside to preparing the city for the America's Cup in 2021, including new bus exchanges, the replacement to two downtown ferry piers, and seismic strengthening. 

Roads are the big winners with over 50 percent of funds going into major road improvements, including the $110 million  introduction of "intelligent systems" designed to ease congested commuter routes.

Public transport is also getting a big boost with over $390 million allocated for new electric trains, $8.6 million for electric buses and $36 million for new bus interchanges.  

But not all public transport is getting a look in.                                                                                                                                                                                                         More than $370 million-worth of proposed ferry terminal and network improvement has been axed by AT, and almost half the requested funding for cycling and walking has also been rejected.

The plan can be reviewed every three years - a chance to address Auckland's ever growing population and changing priorities. 

Over the next 30 years, Auckland is projected to grow by up to another 1 million people, while in the next decade nearly 55 percent of New Zealand's population growth is expected to be in Auckland.