A record $31 billion has been budgeted for Auckland transport over the next 10 years, including half-price fares for the poor.
The Auckland Transport Plan includes an extra $3b from the 2018 plan, much of that from a package of projects announced by the Government last year, which included nearly $2b for the Penlink and Mill Rd projects.
The latest plan includes funding for a raft of big projects already under way, such as the $4.4b City Rail Link, $1.4b Eastern Busway and $830m Puhoi to Warkworth highway.
At an announcement at the Manukau railway station this morning, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Mayor Phil Goff stressed the climate change and housing benefits that will flow from the plan.
Wood said the plan would turn around Auckland's transport emissions through increased investment and public transport projects and encouraging walking and cycling.
However, population growth means that although emissions will decrease 13 per cent per person, overall emissions will increase 6 per cent.
Spending on walking and cycling and for the council's 21 local boards is $1.5b, a rise of $600m from the previous plan.
The plan includes $400m for transport projects alongside the Government's Auckland Housing Programme to provide more than 17,000 Kainga Ora homes across Tāmaki, Mt Roskill, Māngere and Oranga, near One Tree Hill.
The spending includes intersection upgrades, bus priority measures, walking and cycling bridges over SH20, more bus lanes in Māngere, and upgrading Middlemore Station.
From July next year, about 200,000 of Auckland's poorest people with a community services card will qualify for half-price public transport.
Wood said this would mean about 2.7 million public transport trips a year - public transport trips have fallen from 103m to 54m a year as a result of Covid-19.
He said officials were doing everything they can to bring forward the rollout date of July next year and, if the pilot is successful it could be rolled out with other councils throughout New Zealand.
Goff welcomed the "largest capital programme ever allocated for Auckland transport infrastructure and services". The council's contribution of $10.2b is about the same as $10b in 2018.
"We have a huge backlog from years of underinvestment to make up and this is a step in the right direction.
"Public transport, walking and cycling will increase over the next decade from 23 per cent to 29 per cent of morning peak trips, which is good news for addressing the problems of traffic congestion and carbon emissions," Goff said.
A further $500m has also been provided to boost trips on buses and ferries by 91 per cent. The new budget is $1.3b.
Goff said the plan also aims to reduce the Auckland road toll by 65 per cent by 2031, or about 1700 deaths and serious injuries.
"By itself, [the plan] does not solve all of Auckland's transport problems but it will allow us to make inroads into the increasingly serious problems of carbon emissions, traffic congestion and housing shortages," Goff said.
The plan retains $1.8b of seed funding for light rail, which Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised in 2017 would be running from the CBD to Mt Roskill by this year.
AT chairwoman Adrienne Young-Cooper said the plan includes a pipeline of construction activity that will create many thousands of jobs and be a major boost to the region's economic recovery after Covid-19.
"It gives funding certainty to delivery agencies such as Waka Kotahi, Auckland Transport and KiwiRail, which will ensure multi-year investments rather than a piecemeal, project-by-project, approach," she said.
The Automobile Association infrastructure spokesman Barney Irvine said the plan was big and bold with plenty of projects for Aucklanders to get excited about.
"But ultimately you have to judge it on what it achieves, and the big question for us is: 'what is it going to do to address Auckland's traffic congestion?' It says that motorway congestion is going to get worse," he said.
National Road Carriers Association chief executive David Aitken said the plan is practically silent on freight.
"The report is just about all about walking, cycling and public transport. It will help some people get to where they want to go – but what about transporting food to eat, medicines, clothing and manufacturing supplies?" he said.
There was no mention of the consented east-west four-lane road between Mt Wellington and Onehunga and other strategic freight routes, including Favona Rd in Mangere.