Getting the City Rail Link built is correctly a top priority for Auckland Council. It will transform transport across our city (even for non-train users). It’s expensive and the project costs have risen by $1B to $4.4B. Auckland Council was asked to cover half of it.
Some of this extra cost ($250m) comes from increasing the size of the stations which will future proof them, absolutely the right choice. There's extra costs due to delays ($152m) but also the rising cost of infrastructure ($327m) which is a good reminder the longer wait, the more expensive this gets.
It's also worth noting that this new costing is far more accurate, now the designs and procurement are done.
Congestion costs Auckland $11B a year, we have to invest to tackle this. CRL is a major part of transforming our transport system to something that's fit for purpose.
However how the council managed to find $500m without raising rates is interesting. It highlights the significant savings that can be made if there's a need or will. Councillors need to push harder to realise more of these savings across the city.
What is definitely concerning is the lack of clarity over who will own and maintain the CRL. There's some suggestion it might be NZTA but councillors aren't clear. Considering the massive size of capital investment, I'm a little stunned that this hasn't been decided.