Central Government has finally come to the party with the announcement today from the Prime Minister in his State of the Nation speech:
It’s become clear that we need to provide certainty for other planned CBD developments affected by the Rail Link.
This means we see merit in starting the project sooner.
So I can today confirm the Government will work with the Council to bring forward the business plan and formalise our funding commitment from 2020.
The Council has indicated this would allow construction of the Rail Link’s main works to start in 2018 – at least two years earlier than currently envisaged.
It would also allow the council to get on with negotiating contracts and providing certainty for investors in other important Auckland CBD projects.
These include the $350 million NDG Auckland Centre next to the new Aotea Station and the $680 million Commercial Bay tower opposite Britomart.
While issues remain, such as how the rail link will be owned and managed, this is unreservedly exciting news. It means that the contracting process can begin in earnest and the tunnel works can commence immediately after the current phase of the work on Albert Street is complete in 2018.
With the additional capacity that the CRL will provide, the announcement now means that planning can proceed with certainty to expand the rail network to the North Shore, as well as south to the airport.