I was taking a look through the very useful Franklin Live website this evening, which has video recordings of pretty much every Council meeting (though I wish the videos were on Youtube for easier searching!) and came across a presentation at the October Transport Committee meeting on the City Centre Future Access Study.
This study (seemingly known as the CCFAS) came out of the much debated government review of the business case for the City Rail Link in the first half of last year. It is a key part of resolving differences in opinion between Central Government and Auckland Council/Auckland Transport over the merits of the City Rail Link by looking at what the problems really are when it comes to access to the city centre and then looking, in more detail than has occurred previously, at the different options (including the CRL) for resolving those problems.
There’s quite a lot of information in the video (it’s 20 minutes long and largely just audio with the same slide shown), if you listen to what Auckland Transport’s Special Projects Manager Claire Stewart has to say. Click on the image below (or here) to go through to the video:
A few observations from watching the video:
- It’s interesting and somewhat unsurprising that the options evaluation has got down to pretty much the same short-list that the earlier business case did.
- It seems like there has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes to get central government officials to better understand the purpose of the project and the need for it, which is excellent as hopefully we might be able to close the gap (at least at a non-political level) between the two parties in terms of whether the project stacks up.
- Auckland Transport’s budget for the CRL project for 2012/13 is $95 million for property purchase and around $15 million to advance the design. So we really are starting to see some significant funding going towards making the CRL actually happen.
- The Future Access Study will be completed by the end of October so we should have some really interesting information coming to light in the not too distant future.
- It seems like the transport modelling for the project is finally taking into consideration the issue of crowding, which is a bit of a no-brainer as clearly one of the main reasons why the CRL is necessary is because otherwise the bus system gets completely swamped and overcrowded.
Altogether it seems like perhaps progress on the CRL’s technical justification is proceeding a little bit better that I had thought, particularly in terms of the relationship with Central Government agencies and in undertaking some important tweaks to the transport modelling – which seemingly so much faith is put in. I certainly look forward to finding out the final results of this City Centre Future Access Study.