Aucklanders react to scrapped light rail project

Locals of an Auckland suburb, which has missed out on being connected to the city by light rail, have mixed feelings about the cancellation.

In line with its 100-day plan, the coalition government scrapped Auckland Light Rail, which had been six years in development without a metre of track being laid.

Transport Minister Simeon Brown issued a statement on Sunday officially axing the plan.

Work was already stopped on the multi-billion dollar project in November.

Mount Roskill would have been a key stop in the rail line, connecting it to the airport and the CBD.

Locals out and about in the suburb said they were torn by the decision.

"I support infrastructure generally," one local told RNZ, "but $230 million with no development whatsoever is concerning."

"There's just no public transport," said a shopper, "traffic out to the airport's horrendous, motorway [is] awful, so something needs to be done.

"But, yes, it is horrendous the amount of money that is being spent on consultation, what a waste."

"I'm not against light rail, but I'm against money overspending just to get to there," said another.

While some outright said they never supported it in the first place.

"About time, I mean really if anyone goes to the airport they take the motorway," one man said. "If people are going to use the light rail, where do they park? They've got to drive to the station."

"I was never fond of the idea of light rail," said another.

Some were hoping for an alternative.

"Why can't they upgrade the actual rail out of Britomart and put in a line out to the airport?

"I think Auckland needs better public transport so I think if it was going to work it's a pity, but if they're not going to do light rail, they've got to do something else.

"I just thought the extension of the rail system would have been more sensible if you wanted an airport connection."

In his statement, the transport minister said the cost of the previous Labour-led government's project was unsustainable.

"Auckland Light Rail would have cost taxpayers $15 billion, with advice showing the cost could increase to $29.2b," Brown said.

"The previous government committed to building light rail to Mt Roskill within four years of being elected. After six years and over $228m spent on the project, not a single metre of track has been delivered and congestion has only worsened in the city."

Labour's light rail plan had the potential to take up to 14,500 cars off the road but the price soared to $14.6b when it was decided to partly tunnel the rail line.