Auckland Council’s Draft Annual Plan includes a section on transport, outlining in broad terms the money the council intends to spend over the 2011/2012 year on transport. Overall, transport spending is the biggest section of Auckland Council’s budget – so I was quite surprised to see the lack of detail in the Draft Annual Plan on where transport spending is going. Particularly capital spending. All we see about particular projects is a list of “key projects”: Most of the projects listed above are public transport related – surely a good thing. But, as I have noted previously that doesn’t really seem to be where the money is going. In fact, most capital spending actually seems to be on roading projects. This is shown in the table below: It turns out that the Draft Annual Plan does actually provide more detail on individual projects. You just need to dig right to the end of the many-hundred page long document. In terms of capital spending, finally we have a list of projects proposed for funding and the amount of money they’re anticipated to cost. So what are the most expensive projects? Where will that $307m of capital spending actually go? It seems we finally have some answers – and the table below shows the name and cost of every project above $10 million: AMETI is mentioned in the “Key Projects and Priorities” above, so is the New Lynn TOD project. I’m not quite sure what the ‘Gasometer Site Investigation and Design’ project is, while ones below that seem to generally make sense. But what about the most expensive project of all – the “Weiti Toll Road”? That sounds awfully like Penlink to me.
While I’m not the biggest fan of the Penlink project, that’s not what really concerns me here. What concerns me is the secretive way in which the project is being pushed through. The “Weiti Toll Road” project is by far the most expensive transport project Auckland Council intends to fund next year, so why was it not included in the list of key projects and priorities? Because the Council and Auckland Transport wants to seem a lot more public transport friendly than they really are? That they know Penlink is an unpopular project and want to sneak it through?
It’s a bit strange really.