Billion-dollar Auckland infrastructure plan focuses on encouraging transport 'modeshift'

A new $31.4 billion plan to improve infrastructure in Auckland is aiming to go some way towards making up for years of underinvestment in the city.

The Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) 2021-31 package provides funding for critical transport infrastructure and services in a bid to meet the long-term challenges of climate change and housing. 

The plan focuses on encouraging a transportation "modeshift", with heavy investment in public transport and walking and cycling infrastructure aiming to get Aucklanders to use their cars less.

The plan, which is largely a continuation of the ATAP 2018-28 programme, was announced by Auckland Mayor Phil Goff and Transport Minister Michael Wood on Friday.

"At $31 billion this is the largest capital programme ever allocated for Auckland transport infrastructure and services," Goff said.

"We have a huge backlog from years of underinvestment to make up and this is a step in the right direction."

The plan will be funded by both the Government and the council.

A total of $16.3 billion will come from the Government's National Land Transportation Fund, while a further $4.9 billion has been allocated to Auckland from the New Zealand Upgrade Programme, the COVID Response and Recovery Fund and the Government's share of the City Rail Link.

The remaining $10.2 billion will come from Auckland Council's Long Term Plan budget.

Goff said the plan would give a "strong boost" to public transport, which, along with walking and cycling, was forecast to account for 29 percent of morning peak trips over the next decade, up from a current 23 percent.

It also includes transport infrastructure aiming to help meet the city's projected population growth.

"The package will support the delivery of over 17,000 Kāinga Ora homes across Tāmaki, Mt Roskill, Oranga and Mangere that would not be able to happen without this investment," Woods said.

"This includes intersection upgrades, bus priority measures, walking and cycling bridges over SH20, additional bus lanes in Mangere, and upgrading Middlemore Station."

The plan will also trial a "Community Connect" initiative, which will give 200,000 low-income earners half price fares on all train and bus trips in the city.

Goff said while ATAP won't solve all of the city's transport problems "it will allow us to make inroads into the increasingly serious problems of carbon emissions, traffic congestion and housing shortages".

ATAP 2021-31 key projects

  • City Rail Link and ‘day 1’ investments to maximise CRL benefits
  • State Highway 16 Bus Improvements
  • Planning work on the Additional Waitematā Harbour Crossing
  • Penlink (includes land for future public transport priority lanes)
  • Light Rail ($1.8 billion seed funding allocated)
  • Eastern busway
  • Northern Pathway
  • Connected Communities Programme
  • Rail electrification to Pukekohe and extension of third main rail line (Wiri to Quay Park)
  • City Centre Bus Improvements
  •  Walking and cycling programme including the Te Whau Pathway and completing the Glen Innes to Tāmaki cycleway
  • Significant programme of safety improvements with an expected reduction in deaths and serious injury of 65 per cent by 2031
  • Additional electric trains
  • Community Connect to reduce public transport costs for Community Services Card holders
  • State Highway 1 Ara Tūhono Puhoi to Warkworth
  • State Highway 1 Northern Corridor including Northern Busway extension to Albany