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CRL in Parliament again

The CRL has been raised once again in Parliament with Green spokesperson Julie-Anne Genter questioning Gerry Brownlee on the CCFAS.

A full transcript of it is here.

Gerry has clearly taken the first question very literally and his response was at least a little bit funny. Now I generally tend to be an optimist so I’m going to say at least Gerry wasn’t completely dismissing the project. What’s more he seems to have softened his stance a little bit and clearly isn’t ruling it out. He even used the non inflation adjusted price, saying it would cost $2.4 billion, which is probably the first time a minister has done that.

Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the exchange was when Julie tabled the document showing that over the last decade, the number of vehicles entering the city centre had dropped by 20%. This is something that Mr Anderson has pointed out before although it actually seems more like a 15% drop. The point went straight over Gerry’s head though as he started talking about what would happen in 2021, not realising that a shift has been happening already.


82 comments to CRL in Parliament again

  • obi

    “Gerry has clearly taken the first question very literally and his response was at least a little bit funny. ”

    I don’t think he had any choice. I have no idea what the question meant. It’s as if the question was a typo and no one proof read it before it was submitted.

  • Warren S

    Well done Julie Ann ! A logical and persistent line of questioning and I didn’t note as many guffaws from the government benches as previously so I am hopeful that they are gradually getting the message.

  • Obi, it’s what the report says. If the Minister had read it, he may have understood. The CCFAS looked at 46 transport options. The CRL is the transport solution that results in the highest network speeds on the roads. 20,000 more people on trains means way fewer cars on the roads. A surface bus option uses the roads, and therefore contributes to congestion. The CRL is the best option for people who take the train, but it’s also the best option for people who drive on the roads. That’s how a network works.

    • obi

      I think the problem is with the second use of the word “has”: Has he read the City Centre Future Access Study which found that, of the options for Auckland CBD’s transport infrastructure, the City Rail Link “has the highest road network speeds within the City Centre”?

      I suggest a better alternative would have been: Has he read the City Centre Future Access Study which found that, of the options for Auckland CBD’s transport infrastructure, implementation of the City Rail Link and the consequent reduction in vehicle journeys would lead to the “highest road network speeds within the City Centre”?

      • Stu Donovan

        Obi. It’s pretty clear (to me at least – and bear in mind that I’m neither the transport minister nor someone who carries around a hard copy of the CCFAS) that Julie’s question referred to the fact that vehicle speeds were highest under the CRL option.

        And it’s simply wrong to imply that Gerry did not have “any choice” – in this case his answer demonstrates a deliberate choice to be facetitious.

    • Swan

      They didn’t seriously look at road pricing as an alternative in the CCFAS though, despite having 46 options.

      • Hamish O

        The scope of the CCFAS was increasing capacity.

        A recent post here showed that motorways are most efficient at average speeds of around 45km/h, which matches up with real average speeds in Auckland. I assume the same is true for local roads.

        Hence, road pricing would not (significantly) increase capacity and would have been out of the scope of the study. In my mind the main purpose of road pricing would be to prioritize the most important movements, and to provide reliable travel times for users.

        • Swan

          Road pricing can increase capacity by increasing the occupancy of cars, and of buses.

          • Swan

            Sorry I should have said – it can increase the road space available for more buses.

          • Hamish O

            Right, I did forget about that – fell into the trap of thinking in terms of cars not people!

            Remember, however, that carpooling is difficult to co-ordinate and on many streets full bus lanes are probably justified anyway.

            Maybe road pricing wasn’t included because although it will increase capacity, that gain would be no-where near the level of gain in the CRL, for example.

            It’s also important to note that the CCFAS didn’t include anything abut using our existing corridors more efficiently – perhaps it’s assumed that that will be done anyway? (e.g. increasing the length of all trains to 6 cars through EMU purchase was not included)

          • swan

            I think it probably wasnt included because it doesnt suit the councils political agenda. Expensive rail projects, where the costs to the individual are opaque are popular, whilst things like road pricing and bus lanes, where the trades off are clear are not. So instead of taking leadership and selling the good ideas, the easier option is to just try to push through the popular multi bilion dollar projects.

            I note in the paper today there was an interview with Len Brown. It appears he doesnt even support bus lanes rhetorically, let alone in practice. He was asked about what he was going to do in the way of bus improvements, and mentioned a few things, including busways (expensive and popular – see above), but didnt even mention bus lanes. So I personally do not believe LB is actually pro PT.

  • We do try to keep them concise. I think the meaning of the original was not *that* confusing. Also wanted to say, thanks Warren!

    • Jeremy

      You have to test them sometimes with the questioning to see if they are on the same page/level as you and anyone who reads this blog understands the question.

    • Good on you Julie Anne, keep going and I am sure you will get there eventually, though we ight need to wait until after the next election.

      I know you have great knowledge around this subject and I am just amazed you keep your cool with some of the baseless, irrelevant arguments you have to respond to from our auto-centric government. The vision you have for transport in Auckland and NZ is the right one and I am sure history will bear that out.

      Give my old wood work teacher my regards!

  • Jeremy

    After reading the transcript I had to force myself to watch this video to hear the tone of response (esp for the first question). Keep up the questioning Julie, I think I may have to force myself to watch these responses more often to understand the Goverment line of thinking.

  • Wow, no matter how many times I watch Parliament, I am constantly amazed at how the level of behaviour would be more what I would expect to see in a high school.

    Is it really considered that it adds to the debate or are they just so bored they cant help themselves?

  • I see Jerry has actively taken to calling it a “City Rail Loop” again. Tried to say loop in every second sentence, what an ass.

    • Whoops, seem to have Jerry Collins on the mind – also doing irrational things – Gerry I meant to say.

    • Stu Donovan

      again, a deliberate choice by the government to misrepresent the benefits of the project. I wonder if you could call a point of order on the fact that he is using the wrong name for the project? I’m sure the CCFAS report has was thumping around calls it the “City Rail Link”.

  • Sailor Boy

    Surely if it is the best way to get people into the city centre there should be no projects with that as the goal until CRL is built?

    • No because Gezzer doesnt believe a report his own Ministry put together and thinks that options like a 10 lane motorway directly into the CBD (I assume this is what he wants) should have been considered. Or at least he thinks that is what Ken Shirley told him to say.

      Alternatively everyone will just buy a new automatically guided car (with all the money they save from buying their cheap McMansion in the new Auckland suburb of Huntly) or otherwise stay at home and telecommute. Didnt you know that is what everyone will be doing in 2030?

      I personally cant wait for my very own jetpack by 2030.

      • OrangeKiwi

        AD 2030, the year we can finally time-travel back to the 2010s and persuade the government to invest our transport money more wisely. All we need to do then is present them with the facts and evidence. Oh, wait…

  • Rharris

    Think I saw another international tourism report today saying nz is great apart from its transport infrastructure. when is the government going to wake up that’s its in its benefit to invest in the crl and more public transport?

    • Dave West

      Indeed – “New Zealand’s ground transport network remains somewhat underdeveloped” . The costs of all the tourist crashes from not having decent public transport must be massive, given the frequency they seem to occur.

      Anyway, good to see someone presenting the facts re CRL. Would be interesting to know what the MP for Auckland Central views are. A cynical speculation would be that some sort of stalling announcement is made just before the next election campaign to pretend to Aucklanders that something is being done for public transport . Who knows!

  • SteveC

    Gerry, the problem isn’t getting cars into the CBD it’s getting PEOPLE in

    kia kaha Julie Ann

  • Sacha

    Also note this govt’s fondness for stating raw figures, rather than adjusting for population or inflation. Saying a number will only “go down by 1600″ on today’s numbers means stuff all without knowing how high it would be in future without the CRL.

  • Cam

    Ah Gerry speaking from the vast resevoir of transport knowledge he’s built up over many, many years of teaching woodwork.

    Good work from Julie Ann good to see someone at least constructing a rational factual argument on the subject in parliment. Keep at it Greens surely the message will get through eventually.

  • James B

    Brownlee seems obsessed with figures for cars moving into the city not people.

    • Stu Donovan

      Right now cars account for around 50% of total people entering city centre in peak periods, and it’s dropping fast.

      • James B

        Which makes his obsession with the car figures a little odd. I think he wants a plan to increase the number of cars that can access the central city and completely ignores moving people into the central city.

  • Got told by a young nat at a party last week that the only point of the CRL is that it means people don’t have to transfer between Southern and Western. When I told him he was an idiot, he said I didn’t understand Auckland at all. I told him I’d lived for 20years in Auckland and if that didn’t qualify me to have an opinion then what did.

    Completely brainwashed by the internal National material that the CRL is a pointless waste of money. Very disappointing.

    • Rharris

      Sadly come across many people like this who can’t think for themselves.

      Same happens with the unitary plan. I talk to alot of people all enthusiastic about if and they can’t wait to implement it. Then mention the government wants to delay implementation 3 years and they mindlessly think government knows best without questioning why. Never mind it may help with affordability now. Robots to the party line.

  • obi

    “Gezzer doesnt believe a report his own Ministry put together and thinks that options like a 10 lane motorway directly into the CBD (I assume this is what he wants)”

    I think you assume wrong. Brownlee indicated in his answers that the issue with the CRL is scheduling, and that the government are exploring this with Auckland Council. I suspect funding options are also an issue. The government has previously said that they don’t believe Auckland Council’s assumed figures for the number of people who will be working in the CBD in the future. The CRL business case was put together on the basis that this number will increase significantly faster than it has over the past ten years, without explaining why this should be the case. If CBD employment increases at the same rate as it has historically then neither the CRL or a “10 lane motorway directly into the CBD” will be needed in the near future. There may be other good reasons to build the CRL (urban renewal etc), but there is no NEED to spend the money earlier than is required.

    We’ve seen public transport use level off over the last couple of years, and vehicle use level off since 2006 or 2007 or so. That may indicate a trend towards teleworking or some other societal change. The census results might help determine what is going on. However, stable public and private transport use tends to undermine Auckland Council’s assumption that transport in to the CBD will grow faster than it has.

    • MrV

      You are exactly correct, the issue is timing and funding, always has been. I get sick and tired of hearing the trumped up conspiracies as to why the government isn’t immediately pouring more resources into the rail network, particularly when it has been receiving more resources of late than in many many years.
      The question is probably not if it gets built but when and needs to be balanced against a host of other infrastructure priorities across the country.

      • I think that is bullshit, their talk of
        timing is just stalling and misdirection, a sop to those that might support it and it appears we have a few people sopping that up.

        They’ve spent years sayings its worthless and big GB disses the future access study as irrelevant, they’ve never agreed it was worthwhile, let alone more or less essential to future growth.

        To turn around and say “actually it’s really important but we’re just not 100% sure on the timing” is concern trolling.

        • obi

          “They’ve spent years sayings its worthless and big GB disses the future access study as irrelevant”

          That’s what you get when it has been turned in to a political issue. For years we had non-political allocation of transport funds by independent bodies. The last Labour government changed this so that there would be more political control. As far as I can tell, National supported all Labour’s projects, although there was some dissent on whether a motorway through the PM’s electorate should be at-grade or tunneled. This sort of bipartisan support is important for long term projects which take multiple electoral cycles to plan and build. Since then, Labour and the Greens have decided to oppose the National government’s transport plans, and Labour made the CRL the centerpiece of their unsuccessful strategy to win Auckland Central at the last election. It is no wonder that National want to kick back. It’s just politics. And Len Brown understands this… He seems to be working with Brownlee behind the scenes, rather than being happy to enjoy the sound of his own political rhetoric.

          • MrV

            Exactly,you want to pollies involved as little as possible in transport planning. Unfortunately Labour turned it into a political football, and National is not much better because unfortunately the majority voting block drives cars, so it is a delicate act to get anything done on PT.
            Also a shame we overpaid massively for Kiwifail, there was half a billion right there for PT inititatives.

        • MrV

          Nonsense, where is the creativity from Len about actually funding this, rather than just extending the hand for more money? What happened to his Chinese investors?
          As a proportion of Auckland cities assets we’re not talking a huge amount of money for this CRL to get built. If anyone is stalling it is Len.
          Why can’t he get this financed? The reason is he doesn’t want to make a hard decision.

          • Greg N

            At the moment the notification process is underway so the big $ aren’t needed yet.
            But will start to ramp up from next year as the purchase of buildings over/around the tunnels proceeds.
            So its not a major problem right now while the “paperwork” is under way.

            As for expecting Auckland Council aka “Len” to fund it totally and not expecting any handouts from the Government.

            Indeed the Auckland Council could do those things you suggest, except the Government refuses to give it any new tools to do that itself.
            And also threatens to take away any tools it already has.

            Tools? Yes tools like a regional fuel tax, tolling or other mechanisms, and rates.

            Rates? If the Council wanted to raise general rates by say 5% a year to cover the CRL cost, the Government (courtesy of Amy Adams et al) has indicated it will act to stamp that out.

            The governments preferred approach is that the AC sell all its assets (like Airport Shares, Port shares) to pay for the CRL.

            But there is a major principal of fairness here.

            - local bodies including AC (via AT) are expected to cough up 50% of the cost of roading in their regions.
            This is a major part of AT’s annual spending (and thus your rates bill).

            So why isn’t it fair to expect 50% of the CRL cost to be Government funded in return – since roading projects are a 50/50 partnership with the Government so why is the CRL considered different?

            CRL Is just as valid as any roading project would be for improving the road network in Auckland – only difference is that the whells that will use it are steel not rubber.

            What would happen to Aucklands roads if everyone decided to drive to the CBD istead of the overcrowded trains?
            Wouldn’t the Ministry of Transport have to spend Billions of $ to fix the motorway congestion that then arose?

            So tell me why is that you think its far to expect AC to pay for the CRL totally on its own, deny it the tools to let it do so, and then also expect a 50% funding of all roading projects within AC’s area?

            And tell us how is denying the CRL funding short/medium or long term actually solving any problem. Or doing anything except making the Government look like complete dicks in the eyes of most Auckland voters?

      • Greg N

        Completely refute your claims.

        “the issue is timing and funding”
        This is true of *ANY* transport project every undertaken by any government here or elsewhere.
        Saying doesn’t add one iota to the discussion.

        “I get sick and tired of hearing the trumped up conspiracies as to why the government isn’t immediately pouring more resources into the rail network, particularly when it has been receiving more resources of late than in many many years.”

        The issue here is that the current and previous Transport ministers (Brownlee and Joyce) have downplayed and denied any need *ever* for any CRL solution in Auckland – this is not new, and has been the case ever since the current National Government came to power.
        Its idealogically driven, not facts drive and it bordering on the pathological.

        Furthermore, any reinvestment in rail (including electric trains and integrated ticketing) was initiated/instigated by the previous Government (a Labour led one if I recall), and to claim that “we’ve spent more money on rail since ever” as justification for keeping the status quo is misleading at best and more like outright lying. And in fact much of the delay and cost increases have occurred because of the current Governments meddling in the process whe nthey came to power.

        “and needs to be balanced against a host of other infrastructure priorities across the country.”

        Maybe. Except the relevant point here is that this Government is willfully pouring money into the Roads of National Significance projects without any shred of a proper Cost Benefit Analysis or business case being put up that shows these are actually the bets use of the transport money the Government has to spend.

        Some of these RoNS have Cost Benefit ratios that are way way **worse** than the cost benefit ratio that the Future Access Study indicated the CRL project could have (based on a back of the envelope comparison of options not a full business case study).
        And even then the CRL was way, way better than any other options (Bus, status quo etc)
        - which is why is was put forward as the best option for Auckland CBD Future access in the first place.

        So yes, the CRL competes with other projects for finding and resource. Except there seems not to be level playing field on this.
        There seems to be a tier above these proejcts, of special projects that get funding no matter what the cost benefit ratio is.
        And these special projects are soaking up funds and starving the entire country of basic roading maintenance.
        The opportunity costs of these special projects is tremendous and the country will be paying (collectively) for that for a long time to come, whether CRL is built or not. This will not be a $ amount, but in lost opportunities and running down of the basic infrastrucutre of NZ Inc.

        It won’t be long now before this comes home to roost – what will National do once the current drought situation is resolved but the countries dairy and timber exporters can’t move their goods around the country to the ports as the country roads the logging trucks and dairy tankers all use to do so are totally buggered by years of no maintenance – ‘cos all the money has been sucked up into the vortex of the 7 RoNS?

        • MrV

          Can you tell me why after all this CRL rhetoric that figures for CRL are based on the back of an envelope? I don’t disagree with some of your points, but why don’t we have a business case study yet? We’ve only been talking about it for 5 years?

          • Greg N

            There have been many business cases done on the CRL by the current and previous Auckland Councilsover the last 10 or so years.
            The most recent was (re)done 2 years ago. All have looked closely at the likely costs and benefits.

            The Government and Transport Minister so far accepts that none of these cases are valid.

            The Government initiated and approved “business case” for the CRL, like the business cases for the other RoNS simply do not exist because the Transport Ministers (current and former) did not/do not believe in using them for any projects they fund (or don’t fund).

            Instead they instructed their ministry officials to proceed with spending the transport funding on roading or roading related projects only – and which roading projects that the $s are to be spent on are based on the Ministers perception or gut feel of whats required
            - the 7 RoNS were politically decided by National Party politicians not by the Transport Ministry officials.

            It is the Minister of Transport and his cabinet colleagues who are pushing the RoNS, no one else is.

            The Transport Ministry and Treasury officials and non-Governmental organisations (like Fed Farmers) have and continue to warn the Minister of the dangers of this approach, so far to no avail.

            The closest we have to a Government acceptable CRL business case to come up with an accurate cost benefit ratio was done by the CCFAS study team, whose report was released last year.
            This report was (despite the Ministers assertion otherwise) a multi-agency report, and the CCFAS study team make up was approved by his own Ministry officials as able to do the job and included officials from these ministries and Treasury.
            Its findings were stated to be acceptable to the Transport Ministry and Treasury before, during and after the report was released.

            Its however, just not acceptable to the Transport Minister in any shape or form.

            CCFAS compared all the options using simplified assumptions of likely benefits and came out with the CRL as the most effective option on that basis. This is all based on some high/hard $ costs and soft/low $ benefits – so the ratio of costs to benefits they got is the low end (i.e. worst case), and likely to get better – but they serve to allow relative comparison of the 40 plus options they looked at.

            The *exact* $ spend per $ of benefits received (cost benefit ratio) has not been fully determined for the CRL, but the CCFAS benefit figures are going to be a minimum value, and the costs are likely to fall further as the CRL project notification and detailed costing are done mean that the ratio for the CRL option will only improve over time.

            This all means the actual ratio once CRL is built will most likely exceed the figure they came up with of around 0.79, that means 79 cents of benefits for every $ spent.

            But note – all the other options including the “Do Minimum” option were all much worse – and delivered proportionately way less benefits for the $ spent – next best option of bus lanes etc was about 0.40 and so on.

            So yes, the CRL is expensive – but it is the best option and is in fact a bargain compared to the $ spent on even one of the RoNS projects for even lower levels of benefits. Let alone all 7 added together.

            Note: Doing Nothing for the Auckland CBD is NOT an option here – some money has to be spent.

            A large reason why the ratio is at the lower end of the actually likely value is that while the $ costs are “firm”, many of the benefits for PT based projects are not properly included by the current models the Government uses – which are aimed at roading projects.

            Example the value of time for a car driver is considered higher than that for a PT user – over the same distance/time, so this means that the benefits of roading projects always looks “better” over any PT project for the same $ spent for the same type of improvement for the same number of people.

            e.g. a roading project that saved 2 minutes a trip for 100,000 drivers a year would be considered to have a better cost benefit ratio than a PT project that project that saved more than 2 minutes a trip for more than 1000,000 PT users a year because the value of time for the Pt users is lower than the car drivers time. The level of time savings for a PT project to compare the same to a car project would be about 3 minutes a trip to become equal. And if I recall correctly, a passenger in a car has a higher value of time than any PT user as well even though they are being driven by some else as well.

            Why this disparity should exist is due in part to history and also in part to the current Governments belief that car driving is a more valuable contributor to the economy than any use of PT is.

            Please note that when discussing RoNs you have to be aware that the Newmarket Viaduct replacement ($244M) and the Victoria Park Tunnel ($440m) are not RoNS projects.

            They already existed and were underway before the current Government was elected in 2008 so can’t be considered as RoNS as RoNs did not exist until after the 2008 Election.

            Collectively these two projects cost under $700m to build – and so are really peanuts compared to the “real” RoNS which are all multi-billion dollar projects each and collectively add to over $12 billion.

            They are however included in the RoNS figures by some officials as their cost benefit ratios were high – which is why they were undertaken as stand alone projects on their own merits.

            And when included in the RoNS projects they serve to bolster and make the RoNS collective cost benefit ratio better than it will ever be.

          • swan

            “But note – all the other options including the “Do Minimum” option were all much worse – and delivered proportionately way less benefits for the $ spent – next best option of bus lanes etc was about 0.40 and so on.”

            Bus lanes only give 40c of benefit for every dollar spent? I find that quite hard to believe given we are talking about the cost of paint and redesigning a few intersections.

          • Greg N

            A lick of paint as you put it, is not going to cut the mustard here.
            You need full bus priority measures which is way more than a lick of paint.
            And even the full Bus “Big Kahuna” option only staves off the CRL for a few more years as per CCFAS study.
            if you don’t believe go read the CCFAS report for yourself.
            Been plenty of discussion on these figures around here for quite a while.

          • swan

            Yes but you talked about a bus lane option not a busway option. Remember that by definition the do nothing option has a BCR of 1, so there are options with better outcomes than the CRL, they just werent looked at. (Biggest ommision being road pricing).

          • Mr Anderson

            Remember that with a more realistic discount ratio and evaluation period the CRL has a BCR significantly higher than 1.

          • Greg N

            I actually said “bus lanes etc” which includes and implies Busway options.

            Your fixation with Road Pricing is a total red herring as the current Government won’t allow it – period.
            So how can you study the use of an option that can’t actually be implemented because of present Government Fiat?

            And in any case Road Pricing only works if (a) road users either car-pool or (b) can and DO use PT/waling/cycling etc instead of cars to get around.

            And then assume the currently planned EMUs and Britomart are all full well to the brim before 2021.

            So under the CCFAS growth of jobs predictions for the CBD by then, even if everyone else not using trains piled onto Buses thats not gong to be enough.

            And how can 4 people crammed per car times say 4 cars per “bus space” deliver more people to the CBD using the same road space than one more full bus load of people which can carry 40 plus in the same space (and even more if Double Deckers are used)?

            We all agree that car pooling like household cramming (using the same space in each house more efficiently) is fine in theory, but its hard to do in practice.

            So do we base our plans for the future access to the CBD on some nice social engineering ideal of everyone happily car pooling in more and more congested roads as you suggest? Or do we base it some real life scenarios and deliver the options we know will actually work?

          • swan

            “Your fixation with Road Pricing is a total red herring as the current Government won’t allow it – period.
            So how can you study the use of an option that can’t actually be implemented because of present Government Fiat?”

            The CCFAS was studying the CRL. Is the CRL any more supported by the government than road pricing. Can you actually point to a proclamation where the current government has ruled out road pricing?

            “And how can 4 people crammed per car times say 4 cars per “bus space” deliver more people to the CBD using the same road space than one more full bus load of people which can carry 40 plus in the same space (and even more if Double Deckers are used)?”

            They dont have to – they can, of course, ride on the bus if they want. And there will be more room for buses, with much higher reliability and speed. Buses will be able to out price cars – as you say 40 or 50 people on a bus have much greater purchasing power than single occupancy, or even full occupancy vehicles.

            And not only all that, as opposed to costing money, it will make money, meaning more money available for improvements. So I dont think it is unreasonable to say it at once has a BCR of infinity, AND renders BCRs obsolete.

          • Mr Anderson

            But the finding of CCFAS is that it’s infeasible for the city centre to try and cope with THAT many buses in the future. So road pricing which pushes people into buses will just exacerbate the need for CRL, rather than undermine it.

          • swan

            Mr Anderson,

            The CCFAS was looking at a city centre where most of the road space is still dedicated to cars. Road pricing means buses can have as much road space as there is demand for. There is a lot of road space in the CBD (and in the rest of Auckland).

            So, no the CCFAS was not looking at buses in a road pricing scenario, and so couldnt say whether it was infeasible or not.

          • Mr Anderson

            That’s not true actually. CCFAS looked at a whole variety of surface bus options which dedicated a huge amount of space to buses. Most of these were considered infeasible in terms of not being able to cope with demand and, perhaps more importantly, the negative effect they would have on the amenity value of the city centre.

          • swan

            The CCFAS looked at surface bus options and found issues with them for 2 main reasons:

            1. It would degrade vehicle speeds for other vehicles.

            2. It would require expensive busways on brand new corridors outside the city centre, particularly on the isthmus.

            On both these points road pricing changes things dramatically:

            For 1. Other vehicles would have exactly much better travel time reliability with road pricing, as low value trips are weeded out, increasing efficiency.

            For 2. This is not necessary with road pricing as the buses would be able to pay for high quality access on the existing roads.

            So road pricing would completely change the conclusions of the CCFAS surface bus options!

          • Mr Anderson

            So your solution is to suppress travel demand to the city centre? That sounds like a great way to boost the economic performance of Auckland and the country. Not.

            For sure, road pricing has a place in the future of Auckland’s transport system – but I am convinced that it will lead to significant modal shift to public transport – which means we need better infrastructure (i.e. City Rail Link) to cater for that demand, not just walls and walls of buses throughout the city centre.

          • swan

            My solution is to not subsidise travel anywhere, including to the CBD.

            Road pricing doesnt suppress travel, on the contrary it enables more to done with our existing transport network. All else being equal, travel will be suppressed to the CBD one way or another, either by congestion or by pricing. With congestion, a couple of single occupancy vehicles get equal share to the road as a bus, or higher occupancy vehicles, or commercial vehicles. With pricing, the road will inevitably be used by higher occupancy vehicles.

            I have had a fresh look at the CCFAS numbers.

            For all options it ends up with almost exactly the same number of people travelling into the CBD by car – around 42000, including for the surface bus option.

            Take away half those people in cars (for example), assuming an occupancy rate of 2 per car, and you have 42000/2/2 = 10500 fewer cars entering the CBD in the morning peak. Lets assume a bus = 4 cars – that gives us room for 10500/4 = 2625 more buses. At an occupancy of 40, that is 2625*40 = 105000 people, so a net increase in capacity of 105000 – 42000/2 = 84000. So in this scenario total capacity into the CBD is up at 180,000 – almost twice that of any other option. So road pricing = more capacity.

          • Sailor Boy

            @Swan If you read the report then bus lanes were infeasible because there wasn’t actually enough asphalt in the CBD to get them all in.

          • swan

            Sailor boy – not true. Here is the executive summary:


            Look at Table 1-2 on page 19. All of the options have the same number of people entering by private vehicles – and the same number of private vehicles – an occupancy of 1.3 is assumed in all cases (note I had assumed 2 in calc above, so actually there were even more cars than I had assumed).

            So in all cases exactly the same number of private vehicles are assumed to flood the CBD in the AM peak. These vehicles will be requiring the bulk of the asphalt. Take some or all of these vehicles away and you have a lot more asphalt to play with.

          • Sailor Boy

            That is a misintepretation.
            The busways will tkae large parts of the CBD roading, thus reducing that available for private cars. Seeing private do actually need to get into the CBD some roads have to remain.

          • Swan

            Sailor boy, did you look at the numbers? For EVERY option, including the reference case, the CRL option, and the bus options, almost exactly the same number of private vehicles enter the CBD in the am peak. It’s at the link in black and white. There is no “residual” level of private vehicle travel assumed. In every case it is assumed to increase over the next 30 years. They assume a CBD swimming in cars!

          • Swan that is nonsense though I’m sure you agree. Simply reflects the assumptions of the government agencies. Why can we be sure of this? Because the numbers of cars entering the city centre have already fallen this century, and we’ve only just begun to improve the Transit offer. With the CRL they’ll fall through the floor.

          • Swan

            Yes I agree it is nonsense. I don’t believe the numbers will drop right away by themselves though, they will stay about where they are unless the road space is deliberately reallocated. On all this my point is: The CCFAS is trying to make the claim that the CRL is the only way to increase capacity to the city centre. It says that you can’t do it with buses because cars use (most of) the road space, and there isn’t enough left over. So the CRL buys us a city centre that a few more people can access, but that is otherwise fairly similar to the present (actually with more traffic) . But, I say, you can do it with buses if you dramatically reallocate the road space. Now others might say – a CBD with wall to wall buses won’t be pleasant. That’s a fine argument, but that is not the trade off the CCFAS is weighing up. And if that is what we want – a more pleasant city centre with lots of room for active modes, then we actually need to deliberately make that happen, again by reallocating the real estate. But who is talking about reducing road space? The mayor doesn’t even appear to support bus lanes based on his actions and rhetoric. If we want to decide whether or not we want to spend money on a project we need to be transparent about what we want and why we want it. If we are going to spend money on the CRL, I would hope it would be in tandem with a major reallocation of road space to transform the CBD. But the CCFAS is not proposing this as an option either. So I agree the CCFAS is nonsense, and therefore don’t believe you can really draw conclusions from it.

          • To be precise, the CCFAS is not nonsense but its autistic obsession with providing road space for single occupant cars is. But that is all about bending over backwards to meet the absurd demands of the current government and its supine lickspittles at the MoT.

            But you are wrong to characterise the CRL as some kind of urban design choice alone. It is also the most efficient way to maximise efficient use of our existing transport infrastructure; both the out of reach rail capacity, but also to get full value out of our enormous road investment. It will also greatly improve our return on opex costs.

            I fear you are a little mode biased; bus ain’t always best, and when it comes to this issue the CCFAS has got it right.

          • Mr Anderson

            Actually swan I can say that I entirely agree with your comment above. I am pretty certain that the CRL is the right solution but I don’t think it has been explained very well and I don’t think it has been tied into other actions – like the reallocation of roadspace very well.

            Ultimately to achieve BOTH a quality city centre AND to be able to get a lot of people into that city centre (as well as around Auckland generally) I just don’t see any other option delivering what the CRL delivers.

            I think the main issue probably comes back to the way transport modelling works. We know that traffic has declined massively in the past 11 years but for some reason the modelling shows traffic going the other way. I think that CRL will be needed because the rail and bus system will be overwhelmed with demand otherwise, but the modelling suggests it’s needed to minimise future congestion for cars. Goodness knows how to resolve this problem.

        • MrV

          Well there is an idea, why doesn’t ACC sell 30% of the port, at least it demonstrates it’s seriousness about building the CRL. Not like the port is all that profitable considering the capital tied up in it.

          I can see why the govt doesn’t prefer general rate increases, but there must be some compromises around areas, particularly commerical premises that will be served by the CRL, premises close to stations etc. This should be sold as a land tax on the additional rents earned by the publically funded infrastructure, rather than rates per-se.

          As for the 50/50 road funding, well I guess the issue is the rest of the country also has this deal, whereas the rest of the country (except Wellington) doesn’t see a hell of alot in the way of rail initiatives. Sure that is regrettable, but at this stage I dont see an answer given the state of rail in the rest of the country has been let go so badly.

          In the long run it would be far better for Auckland to get its act together and fund this, which would actually demonstrate its maturity as a proper city, rather than whinging about not getting enough govt. handout.
          I’ve often wondered if CRL could be packaged with an airport extension. sell the rights for tickets to the airport (say a premium fare) to a private operator for 30 years, and get both projects done.

          • Mr Anderson

            Auckland’s more than willing to pay for CRL, with our rates, our income tax and our petrol tax.

          • Precisely, Aucklanders already spend billions each year on transport, paid for out of our income taxes, gst, rates, fuel tax and business tax, more per capita than many equally sized cities.

            We don’t need to spend more of transport infrastructure, we just need to shift the spending to more efficient and effective projects. Unfortunately the central government Is responsible for almost all revenue collection, refuses to let Auckland collect its own, then dictates how the money has to be spent in Auckland.

          • MrV

            If Aucklanders are so willing to pay, why doesn’t a private consortia build it, or come to some arrangement with ACC?

          • Because Aucklanders already pay too much for transport infrastructure capex, a private consortia would simply be charging Aucklanders even more. Auckland is willing to pay for it, with the copious monies we already pay for infrastructure development.

          • Lets not forget that the CRL doesn’t just benefit Auckland. Many of the benefits it provides come from allowing more employment in the CBD and the advantages that brings. More businesses and employment means more taxes that the government collects, money that is spent all around the country. It is only fair that the Government contribute some money towards it unless it is being proposed that each region has to fund their own infrastructure directly (I wouldn’t mind that but some of the smaller regions definitely would).

  • MrV

    BTW the graph is meaningless without some figures about trends going on regarding suburb-suburb commuting in other areas of Auckland over the same time period.

    • Stu Donovan

      Mr V that’s a trumped up claim if ever I read one. No graph can give the full picture, but that one shown above certainly suggests that accessibility to the central city has increased while private vehicle numbers have fallen. I think that’s a useful place to start asking questions about projects that impact on accessibility to the city centre?

      • MrV

        Nonsense, without seeing what is going on across the rest of Auckland, how can we judge the significance of this change?

        • Why do you need to know about the rest of Auckland to understand transport accessibility to the city centre?

          • MrV

            Because if that data indicates a hell of a lot more trips are being made across other parts of the city, then you need that information to decide on the appropriate level of resources for projects. Whether that be rail extensions or roads.

          • Stu Donovan

            Once again a graph is a graph and the always only tell part of the story. They are usually neither complete nor meaningless; instead they are one piece of the information jigsaw puzzle. That graph highlights how overall accessibility to the city centre has increased even though the number of vehicles has reduced. That is an interesting and impressive piece of information that would challenge many people’s perceptions of Auckland’s city centre.

            From what I can tell no one is implying that we should allocate $2 billion on the basis of the one graph, but we are saying that the graph communicates some important information that is relevant to the discussion. Incomplete? Yes. Meaningless? Definitely not.

            P.s. Although I do find it odd that the graph has no label on the y-axis, which is a major barrier to interpretation. Nonetheless, I can guess it should be something along the lines of “People per peak two hours” or something similar.

          • Sacha

            Not labelling that graph axis is poor when the difference between moving vehicles or people is a key part of the argument.

  • jonno1

    To clarify, although the Y-axis is unlabelled it obviously represents people, rather than vehicles as stated in the post (Julie Anne Genter made this clear in the house). I presume these are average daily figures; the graph doesn’t say. As for the percentage change, I agree that Julie Anne overstated the reduction in vehicle use, but she also understated the increase in PT use which is closer to 55% according to the graph. The total of around 67,000 also clarifies the debate about how many people work in the CBD (plus a few cyclists and pedestrians I suppose).

    PS Bought a $5 HOP card last week, one day I may even use it!

  • Sweet as

    The question that will make or break Len / Auckland City / Auckland transport / labour long term chances with the voters of the city regards the rail loop is:

    Who is liable for the debt


    NO WAY THIS IS ECONONIC SENSE, every person taking the train into the city has to be at least $100 more productive EVERY just to pay for the OPEX, the capex is gone , just as if New Zealand flushed 2500 million out to sea.

    How much?
    Who pays?
    What does this mean to the rates?
    What is the risk exposure to our rates?

    Sad fact is that I have seen nothing that

    What are the op exs costs and how much is the rate payers

    • Check your facts Sweet As, $100 more productivity per existing rail trip equates to $22 billion of benefits over a thirty year evaluation period. I that were the case we could build ten city rail links and still break even!

      Of course that is just assuming the same numbe of trips for thirty years, rather than a huge increase as travel patterns and land use adapt over time.

  • Sweet as

    Beer festival is super great!

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