A paper to the Auckland Transport board shows just how easy it is for our existing transport plans to be changed to accommodate new motorway projects. It comes about due to the governments announcement that they were fast tracking a series of roading projects around Auckland. The issue is that the projects aren’t in the current Regional Land Transport Programme which sets out the projects that will be built over a three year period (2012-2015) and are technically not allowed to be funded our of the National Land Transport Fund. In other words without them being on the list, the NZTA are not allowed to pay for them and therefore build them.
But fear not as AT say:
Section 106 (2) of the Land Transport Management Act requires Auckland Transport to adopt a policy that determines significance in respect of variations made to the RLTP.
In deciding whether a proposed variation is significant, Auckland Transport will assess whether or not the proposed variation meets the following guideline:
“The inclusion of a construction phase for a new state highway project with a total activity or project cost greater than 10 per cent of the activity class New and Improved Infrastructure for State Highways in the RLTP”. (Ref: Regional Land Transport Programme, pg. 74).”
The 2012/15 RLTP includes total provision of $1.4 billion for the ‘New and Improved Infrastructure State Highways’ activity class. The elements of the new projects proposed for inclusion in the 2012-15 RLTP are listed in Table 1 above. Forecast 2012-15 expenditure for the individual projects does not exceed 10% of the total cost of the ‘New and Improved Infrastructure for State Highways’ activity class included in the 2012-15 RLTP, so are not considered significant under the ‘Significance Policy’ described in the 2012-15 RLTP.
This means that they can be included in the RLTP without the need for public consultation. Full public consultation on the remanding phases of the projects will be carried out in the course of developing the 2015/18 RLTP.
There’s always a loophole for motorways isn’t there.
The projects that are being added are below
(a). Northern Corridor:
1) SH1 Greville Road Interchange Upgrade
2) SH18 improvements between SH1 and Unsworth Drive
3) SH1 Upper Harbour Highway to Greville Road Northbound three laning
4) Northern Busway Extension (Constellation to Albany)
5) SH18 to SH1 Motorway-to-Motorway Connection
(b). Southern Corridor:
6) Southern Corridor Improvements, which includes:
• Takanini Northbound three laning to north of the rail overbridge
• Takanini to Papakura three laning – Northbound and Southbound
• SH20 to Hill Road Southbound four laning;
• Takanini Interchange Upgrade
(c). Airport Access Corridor
7) SH20A to Auckland Airport
While the table below shows how much these are expected to cost.
I imagine it would have been fairly embarrassing for the government if it had to go through some public consultation and the public rejected the projects.
I guess the only consolation is that the extension of the Northern busway to Albany is on the list.