Boost for Auckland transport projects

Key Auckland transport projects have received a boost under the Budget 2014 through a $375 million interest-free loan to the NZTA.

In his Budget speech, Finance Minister Bill English said the loan would accelerate $815 million worth of Auckland transport projects.

Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said the projects would address congestion the country's largest city, improve access to Auckland International Airport and capitalise on the benefits of major roading projects already under way - including the Western Ring Route.

"No Government has invested so heavily in transport infrastructure across all transport modes," he said.

"But with freight demand forecast to grow by around 50 per cent across the country in the next 30 years, and by almost 80 per cent in Auckland, and with a growing population, we've decided to bring a number of important projects forward.

"Some of these projects were up to a decade from starting, but we've decided they simply must begin sooner to give Auckland the best opportunity of moving people and goods around the region."

The $375 million will be transferred to NZTA as an interest-free loan, to be repaid to the Crown by funding currently allocated to these projects in the National Land Transport Fund up to 2026/27, Mr Brownlee said.

The Government has also announced today that $32.7 million of new operating funding will be allocated over the next four years in the Budget to cover the debt financing cost to the Crown of the interest-free loan.

Auckland transport package:

* Delivery of projects on the Northern Corridor, Southern Corridor and State Highway 20A by 2019/20 ($800 million).

* Further investigations to determine the preferred scope of the East-West Link over 2014/15 ($10 million).

* Progression of the Panmure to Pakuranga phase of the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI) over 2014/15 ($5 million).

Northern corridor motorway projects proposed for acceleration:

* Three-laning State Highway 1 northbound Constellation to Greville

* State Highway 1/Greville Road Interchange improvements

* State Highway 1 to State Highway 18 motorway-to-motorway link

* Benefit-to-cost ratio: 3.8

* Proposed construction period: 2013/14 2019/20

* Expected cost: $450 million

Southern corridor motorway projects proposed for acceleration:

* Three-laning State Highway 1 southbound Hill Road to Takanini

* Six-laning State Highway 1 Takanini to Papakura

* Takanini northbound onramp improvements

* Takanini Interchange upgrade

* Four-laning State Highway 1 southbound, State Highway 20 to Hill Road

* Benefit-to-cost ratio: 6.8

* Proposed construction period: 2014/15 2016/17

* Expected cost: $210 million

State Highway 20A project:

* Upgrades State Highway 20A to a motorway standard

* Benefit-to-cost ratio: 1.7

* Proposed construction period: 2015/16 2017/18

* Expected cost: $140 million


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