Auckland Mayor Phil Goff has got all of the big projects on his wishlist from the Government's $12 billion infrastructure kitty.
However, the "sensible wish list" he outlined in a letter to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and run in the Herald this month is missing a number of smaller projects.
Omissions include $40 million for shoulder lanes and bus terminals on the Northwestern Motorway to ease congestion for West Aucklanders at rush hour and grade separation of train lines from roads.
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Goff was told by Finance Minister Grant Robertson before yesterday's announcement he "won't be disappointed" and Robertson delivered in spades, literally.
It was no surprise when the Government brought forward work on the Penlink road linking Whangaparaoa Peninsula with State Highway 1 and the four-lane Mill Rd highway running parallel with SH1 between Manukau, Papakura and Drury. Both are fast-growing housing areas facing gridlock without improved roading.
One surprise not on Goff's wish list was two new train stations and park and ride facilities at Drury costing $247m, but he did get his wish for a third rail line between Britomart and Wiri to remove a bottleneck between freight and passenger trains.
Another surprise is the escalating cost of projects on Goff's wishlist in less than two years. In 2018, Penlink was costed at $200m. The new cost is $411m. The cost of the third rail line has risen from $172m to $315m. Phase one of Mill Rd was costed at $507m. The cost of the full project is $1.354b.
The most eye-watering price tag is for the SkyPath over the Harbour Bridge and its companion SeaPath, which carries on to Esmonde Rd in Takapuna. The cycleway and walkway, renamed the Northern Pathway, has ballooned from $99m to $360m.
NZ Transport Agency officials put the increase down to the complex engineering challenges of building a new structure on the Harbour Bridge.
Goff was delighted with Auckland's slice of the cake yesterday, which amounted to $3.48b of the $6.8b transport package, and starting projects set down for the end of the decade to the beginning of the decade.
It was a novel thing for Auckland, the mayor joked, to be building infrastructure at the same time houses are being built.
On a more serious note, Goff said he wanted to look at the cost breakdown of the Northern Pathway, noting the original view of just tacking something on to the bridge was not sustainable and will have to cope with large numbers of people.
The mayor had no complaints with the package for Auckland, saying the Government was fully funding some projects the council had previously committed to and that would free up money to tackle other priorities.
Goff said he had an assurance from the Government there would be money for connecting the Northwest to bus lanes, but is still ho-hum on a proposal by some transport advocates to extend rail from Swanson to Kumeu and Huapai.
"It has been looked at several times and I would not say never to that option. What we are trying to do is prioritise where the need is greatest."