Bernard Orsman is Super City reporter for the NZ Herald.

Labour to fund early start on light rail in Auckland

Labour Party leader Andrew Little
Labour Party leader Andrew Little

Labour is promising to spend $680 million on an early start to light rail in Auckland.

In an announcement linked to the Mt Roskill byelection on December 3, Labour leader Andrew Little today promised the first stage of a light rail system from Wynyard Quarter to Mt Roskill.

The 13km line would run via Britomart, along Queen St to Dominion Rd, ending near the Stoddard Rd-Sandringham Rd intersection, said Little, who was joined by Labour's candidate in the byelection, Michael Wood, at Dominion Rd in Balmoral.

Little said accelerating light rail on the Auckland isthmus - known as the "void" because it lacks access to rail and mass transit - would tackle the city's worsening congestion problems.

"Right now, gridlock is choking Auckland's ability to grow. Auckland is crying out for infrastructure projects to get the city moving, but the Government is out of touch and ignoring the problem. Labour will deliver, starting with a modern light rail line," Little said.

He said Auckland Council wanted to build light rail from Mt Roskill to the CBD within 10 years, but National has refused to commit funding.

Under Labour's plan, the Government would pay half of the $1.36b cost and Auckland Council the other half.

The council has no money for light rail, but new mayor and former Mt Roskill MP Phil Goff has promised to bring forward light rail subject to a business case in the next long-term budget in 2018.

Little said the project would cut travel times, reduce congestion and pollution, improve health, and boost productivity. He said the homes of 29,000 people and 48,000 jobs are located within 500m of the planned stops, with major growth likely in the coming decade.

National candidate for Mt Roskill Parmjeet Parmar.
National candidate for Mt Roskill Parmjeet Parmar.

National candidate for Mt Roskill Parmjeet Parmar says Labour's transport announcement was "overblown" and aimed only at getting headlines.

She says fixing bus stops, getting more buses and getting footpaths fixed were the main issues among Mt Roskill residents.

Speaking to reporters at Lynfield Reserve, Parmar said her campaign would focus on getting more buses, filling the gaps in bus routes, better bus shelters, changing T3 lanes and improving safety of footpaths.

- NZ Herald

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