One of the most positive transport stories in Auckland over the last number of years has been the changes that have occurred to the AMETI project. The project was originally conceived following the demise of the eastern motorway proposal. It was intended to instead make improvements to the local roading network and for some time remained extremely roads focused. In the last few years however it started to transform and the current project seems almost light years away from what it started out as. A key feature of this transformation is the development of a busway that is intended to eventually extend from Panmure Train Station, all the way to Botany. Here is what is proposed:
So it is extremely disappointing to see that due to funding constraints, it is the busway that looks first set for the chop:
The future of a new 7km busway in Auckland, hoped to relieve some of the country’s most congested roads, is in jeopardy due to significant funding constraints.
The announcement came yesterday morning as the Transport Committee of the Auckland Council discussed the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI).
The South Eastern Busway, which was due to begin no earlier than 2015, was expected to carry 5.5 million passengers a year when completed and cost about $1.5 billion.
Auckland Transport Major Projects Manager Rick Walden told the committee the project was “at risk because of an inability to be able to commit funding to it”.
“Unfortunately we won’t be able to start work on it until we are able to commit to the construction of the project,” he said.
Walden said the second stage from Pakuranga to Botany was now unlikely to start for more than a decade.
I wonder if these funding pressures are due to recent changes to the to the NLTP in which funding for local roads and PT infrastructure is being cut to help finance a couple of motorways out in the countryside. It is probably also a victim of our flawed evaluation models which don’t count PT users as important as car drivers. As I mentioned, it is extremely disappointing to see this happen as we will probably see all of the roading parts of the project still occur. Even if the roads are also scaled back, they might be in a way that makes it much more difficult and expensive to build the busway in the future so I really hope we find a way to get this built right the first time as the eastern suburbs have probably the worst autodependence in all of Auckland due to a pretty much complete lack of quality alternative options.