Better connections for a growing city and a great example of a partnership approach is how Hamilton City Council chief executive Richard Briggs has welcomed Friday's funding decision for Hamilton-Auckland passenger rail infrastructure.
The NZ Transport Agency Board confirmed implementation funding to support the Council's investment in the new Rotokauri transport hub and improvements at Frankton railway station. The transport hub will include a park and ride facility, a bus interchange and a pedestrian overbridge for people to access The Base.
On a regional level, the funding decision also supports the Waikato District Council's Huntly rail station upgrade and KiwiRail's new carriage maintenance facility at Te Rapa. The funding also confirms development of ticketing systems and installation of wifi on carriages.
"This is a special day for Hamilton, and the development of the rail service and other transport connections which will operate from the transport hub will be a key part of helping our residents get around our city and the wider region," says Richard.
"Our Council has championed this project for a long time, and I want to acknowledge the way in which our partners, neighbouring councils, staff and government agencies have come together to get the best outcome for our communities.
"I would particularly like to thank the government and Minister Twyford for his support in effective partnerships between central and local government."
"Through the Waikato Regional Council's Busit service, Hamilton already has free buses for 18 years and under on weekends, as well as a disability concession across the region. There is also the regional bus system that can link travellers from Te Awamutu and Cambridge to the Hamilton bus service.
Passenger rail is another vital component in a city which expects to attract another 21,000 residents in the 10 years to 2028," he says.
The start-up rail project is being led by Waikato Regional Council, with partners NZ Transport Agency, Hamilton City Council and Waikato District Council. KiwiRail is delivering the rolling stock and the project is being delivered with the co-operation of Auckland Transport.
The passenger rail connection between Hamilton and Auckland is one of the priority projects of the Hamilton to Auckland Corridor Plan, a joint iwi-council-central government initiative.