Prime Minister Bill English has announced a $267 million investment for commuter rail in Auckland and Wellington.

The package includes electrification of the Papakura to Pukekohe rail line, adding a third line from Wiri to Westfield and double tracking the Wellington commuter network between Trentham and Upper Hutt.

English said the transport package went to support a building boom on a scale New Zealand has not seen before.

Prime Minister Bill English has announced a $267 million investment for commuter rail in Auckland and Wellington.

Posted by nzherald.co.nz on Saturday, 5 August 2017

Over the next six years a further 200,000 houses would be built in New Zealand. In the South Auckland areas of Drury, Paerata and Pukekohe there are plans for 21,000 houses, English said.

Advertisement

English said Labour had reannounced their light rail policy from 2008, 2011 and 2014.
He said the new Waterview tunnel had taken the pressure off the airport route and

National was prioritising rail and road links. He said light rail was on the list, it was a good idea but at the moment it's not the priority.

National Party Transport Spokesperson Simon Bridges said the project was part of the Government's ongoing investment in public transport.

"In Auckland we will invest $130 million to electrify the track between Papakura and Pukekohe to support these important growth areas in the south and provide a more reliable and efficient services for commuters.

"Electrification is a key element of the National led government's focus on supporting a cohesive, efficient transport system for Auckland."

He said Auckland's population growth has meant more commuter trains using the rail network around the city are competing with the growing number of freight trains.

He said $37m was also being dedicated to Wellington's commuter network - to enhance its reliability.

Bridges said Labour's announcement was reheated policy but Labour saw light rail as the diver bullet that is going to solve all of the issues.

"We think there are other priorities and that's why we are talking about the northwestern busway, Mill Rd and Ameti," he said.

Bridges said a 10 cents regional petrol tax was a real hit for the cost of living, saying "we have demonstrated that by being prudent and sticking within budgets you can do the projects and not hit Aucklanders hard in their back pocket".

Wellington's commuter rail package includes:

• A full double track on the Hutt Valley Line between Upper Hutt and Trentham - $22 million
• A third platform for Porirua Station - $3.5 million
• A turn-back facility at Plimmerton - $2.5 million
• Upgrade of bridges and slopes - $9 million
• Upgrade of 'Park and Ride' facilities for the Kapiti and Hutt Valley Lines
• A programme to integrate and optimise rail and bus services.

"Together these projects represent a $267 million investment in commuter rail in our biggest cities commuter rail networks," ridges said.

English made the announcement just after 3pm at the Papakura Railway Station in South Auckland.

On Friday, the Herald revealed the $2.6 billion election transport package for Auckland would include a new highway alongside the Southern Motorway.

That motorway would cost up to $955 million and a Northwestern busway would come out at a cost of $835m.

The package also provides $615m for the Ameti transport project in southeast Auckland, $130m to electrify rail from Papakura to Pukekohe and about $100m for a third track on the busy freight and passenger rail line between Wiri and Westfield.

National were forced to reveal the plans after details were obtained by the Herald.

Transport Minister Simon Bridges said last week the Government was working closely with Auckland Council to find ways to deliver the projects in light of a fast-growing population.

Several of the projects have been brought forward from the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (Atap) - a joint Government/council transport programme stretching over 30 years.

Earlier this afternoon, new Labour leader Jacinda Ardern revealed the party's election plan on transport, including light rail from Mt Roskill to the airport.

"I believe Labour's plan is a game-changer. It will reduce the $2b a year that congestion costs Auckland. It will realise Auckland's potential to be a truly world class city," said Ardern.