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Joyce: Government Committed To Auckland Rail Electrification

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Steven Joyce
Steven Joyce

Transport Minister Steven Joyce has today confirmed the government's commitment to the electrification of Auckland rail, which was to have been funded through the regional fuel tax.

"After double tracking, electrification is the important next stage in the development of Auckland's rail network. Rail is an important and growing way for Aucklanders to get to work each day.

"ONTRACK's electrification plans will proceed unchanged."

The purchase of electric trains was to come out of Auckland's regional fuel tax but will now be supported by crown funding - either via a capital appropriation or additional debt funding, until such time as patronage levels reach the point where regular passenger transport subsidies are sufficient.

The government has decided in principle that now that KiwiRail has been re-purchased by the government, it should be the owner of the new crown-funded passenger rail stock in Auckland and Wellington.

Mr Joyce says this will save costs over time and ensure the most efficient use of transport funds.

"We will be working with regional authorities in Auckland and Wellington to achieve that outcome and manage the transition."

The decision is in principle to take into account the report of the Royal Commission on Auckland Governance, which may recommend changes to Auckland's current transport arrangements. The Royal Commission's report is due at the end of this month.

Other Auckland projects which were to be funded through regional fuel tax, like Penlink, ferry upgrades and integrated ticketing, will be subject to the usual funding processes through the NZ Transport Agency.

Mr Joyce says the NZ Transport Agency has agreed to consider urgent bids for additional funding required for projects that are already underway.

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