Media release – Wednesday, 14 September 2016: Public confirmation today of a new $2.8b to $3.4b funding envelope for the City Rail Link doesn’t surprise one Auckland councillor who along with two colleagues wrote to the Auditor-General as recently as June.
In their letter three months ago councillors Cameron Brewer, Dick Quax and George Wood outlined their concerns about the project and urged the Office of the Auditor-General to ensure a close oversight. At the time they were rebuffed by both Auckland Transport and the Auditor-General.
“This potential escalation is exactly what we feared. We now know the revised funding envelope, but no one still has any idea of the full and final costs. That will remain the worry for some years.
“Auckland ratepayers were assured by this council that if the Government came to the party with 50% of the total $2.5b project funding, the bill would be around $1.2b. However, ratepayers contribution could now escalate by nearly half a billion dollars to $1.7b if the project’s total cost was ever to hit $3.4b,” says Mr Brewer.
He says it’s great news the National Government has committed 50% to both the current enabling works and main works from 2018.
However he says another big funding hole that still needs to be addressed is the $100m plus shortfall that’s required to be found each and every year once the project is complete to keep the 3.4km CRL operational.
“And that $100m plus annual operational shortfall exists even after taking into account farebox revenue and rail subsidies. At the moment that massive operational shortfall still sits on council’s long-term budget forecasts and with the ratepayer.
“On the capital cost alone, we could be up for one million dollars a metre. That’s one thousand dollars for every millimetre and there’s a lot of millimetres between Britomart and Eden Terrace. Thank goodness for Auckland’s ratepayers we now have the Government on board,” says Cameron Brewer.