Auckland Council planners are backing a politician's call for a northwestern busway - but not at the cost of delaying the $2 billion Waterview motorway project.
Although Labour transport spokesman and Te Atatu MP Phil Twyford is pleased about support for the concept in a staff report, he is disappointed the Government's Transport Agency will not "future-proof" the motorway project for a dedicated off-road busway like that on the North Shore.
"My view is that we are going to need a full-service busway there within a decade," he said.
Transport Agency acting northern highways manager Steve Mutton said a 2010 study had indicated passenger demand for a busway was "decades away" and a plan to widen and extend shoulder lanes would suffice for now.
But Mr Twyford believes new plans by Auckland Transport to ramp up bus services along the motorway and through arterial feeder roads from 2016 to at least once every 15 minutes between 7am and 7pm, aided by passenger transfer stations at Te Atatu and Lincoln Rd, will fuel demand beyond predictions.
As well as building a 4.5km link between State Highways 20 and 16 at Waterview for $1.4 billion, the agency intends widening more than 8km of motorway from St Lukes to Te Atatu by 2017 for about $600 million.
That will include raising and widening between Waterview and Te Atatu for $270 million from the beginning of next year, but not a busway.
The council report is due for consideration tomorrow.
Connecting the west
*New bus interchanges planned for Te Atatu and Lincoln Rd, and 15-minute services - from early 2016
*Widened Te Atatu-Waterview motorway causeway, for extra traffic and bus "shoulder" lanes - from early 2017
*Full off-road busway from Waterview to Westgate - between 2022 and 2041 (Auckland Plan provision)