Auckland Mayor Len Brown says he will push for a 2016 start to the $2.86 billion city rail link after promising voters three years ago he would have the project finished by 2017 at the latest.
Mr Brown yesterday released his transport policy for a second term, saying he now planned to have the 3.5km route from Britomart to join the western rail line at Mt Eden completed by 2020/2021.
Against the background of rail patronage slumping from 11 million trips to 10.1 million in the past year, Mr Brown said improving rail was crudely to stop gridlock in Auckland, particularly through the city rail link.
The Mayor won backing from the Government for the rail link in June, but Prime Minister John Key stipulated a start before 2020 depended on increasing rail patronage to 20 million passenger trips.
"By 2021, unless we have the rail link, we will have gridlock. Auckland's bus network will have reached capacity, and speeds on city centre roads will have dropped to 7km/h," Mr Brown said.
The Mayor's other big transport promises from 2010 - completing rail to the airport by 2020 and rail to the North Shore in 2025 - have taken a back seat to the rail link this term. He is making modest promises at the 2013 local body elections of preparing a business case for rail to the airport and sticking with a second harbour crossing coming up at Victoria Park being a top city priority.
If re-elected, Mr Brown said he would support a full study to extend electrification of rail from Papakura to Pukekohe at a cost of $120 million to $130 million, and upgrading Te Atatu Rd.
After promising in 2010 to put transport plans around every school in the region, and increasing the numbers from 191 schools to 319, Mr Brown is promising to have a plan in every school by 2016.
Mr Brown has also promised to fully roll out the integrated ticketing system for travel on all services by the end of the year.
Len Brown's transport policy
City rail link
What he promised in 2010: Complete project in 5-7 years.
What he achieved: Work on designation, buying properties along route, Government backing for project.
What he is promising in 2013: Start work in 2016 for completion in 2020/2021.
Rail to the airport
What he promised in 2010: Complete project by 2020.
What he achieved: Parked project to focus on city rail link. No funding for project.
What he is promising in 2013: By the end of the term have an agreed business case, funding and capital programme for inclusion in the 2018 long term plan. Protect route.
Rail to the North Shore
What he promised in 2010: Complete project by 2025.
What he achieved: Little.
What he is promising in 2013: Nothing firm, except that double-decker tunnels between Esmonde Rd and near Victoria Park are necessary to eventually allow for trains.
School transport plan
What he promised in 2010: Putting a transport plan around every school in the region.
What he achieved: Increasing the schools covered from 191 to 319.
What he is promising in 2013: Having a plan in every school by 2016.
New transport policies
• Undertake study on extending electrification of rail to Pukekohe at a cost of $120 million to $130 million.
• Begin work next term on the $1.2 billion east-west highway from Mt Wellington to Onehunga.
• Speed up work on southeast Auckland's $1.5 billion Ameti package of roading and public transport upgrades.
• Fully roll out the integrated ticketing system by the end of the year.
• Begin Te Atatu Rd upgrade in 2015/2016.