I have heard that there should be a final announcement on how Auckland’s electric trains are to be funded by the end of July. That means some time next week. With yesterday’s announcement of integrated ticketing, thankfully most of the mess Steven Joyce created when abandoning the Regional Fuel Tax has been cleaned up – which I suspect we are very thankful to Mike Lee from the ARC for.
Back in late May, Steven Joyce announced that he was going to look into a variety of options for funding Auckland’s future electric trains, that were previously to be funded through the ARC’s share of the Regional Fuel Tax. One of the options Joyce was looking at was a PPP: private-public-partnership, which have a nasty habit of constantly failing overseas. One hopes that he has abandoned that poorly thought-out idea, and we will see an annoucement in the near future that the government is going to step in and pay for the electric trains through KiwiRail.
Frustratingly, even if this “good news” does happen, we’re still in a poorer situation than where we were a few months back. Electrification has undoubtedly been delayed by these shennanigans, and the chance of having electric trains by the time of the Rugby World Cup has now disappeared. Let’s just hope our clapped out old trains don’t fail like they did a few months ago before a Super 14 Blues v Highlanders rugby match.