Friday, June 14, 2024

Eastern Busway’s final stage facing major financial hurdle

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The final stage of the Eastern Busway runs from Pakuranga to Botany. File image supplied

The final stage of the Eastern Busway has a large hurdle to overcome with Auckland Council not including funding for it in its recently passed 10-year budget.

Auckland mayor Wayne Brown has publicly expressed disappointment with the coalition Government’s move to axe the Auckland Regional Fuel Tax (RFT).

He’s said the tax was helping to fund projects such as the Eastern Busway.

The busway’s final stage runs from Ti Rakau Drive Bridge in Pakuranga to Botany Town Centre.

It will run down Ti Rakau Drive, move left over a new bridge around the back of the Chinatown complex and onto Burswood Drive.

It then moves along the back of businesses in Torrens Road, continues in a straight line past Bunnings, onto Burswood Drive, and back out into Ti Rakau Drive.

News media quoted Brown as saying the council has to reconsider its capital progamme following the axing of the RFT.

Multiple projects have been subsequently cut from the council’s budget including the busway’s final stage, which is no longer funded.

When Pakuranga MP and Transport Minister Simeon Brown announced the regional fuel tax was being stopped as of June 30, he said as of September last year about $780 million in revenue had been raised from it, with about $341m remaining unspent.

“I’ve discussed the unspent funds with Auckland mayor Wayne Brown and signalled our intention they are to be spent on projects which are of mutual priority to the Government and Auckland Council.

“These projects include the Eastern Busway, City Rail Link electric trains and stabling, road corridor improvements, and some growth-related transport infrastructure.

“Legislation removing the RFT will require Auckland Transport to only be able to use the remaining RFT revenue and unspent funds towards delivering these projects.

“The coalition Government is committed to working with Auckland Council to ensure we build the infrastructure Auckland needs, and at the same time unlock the funding and financing tools they need to help fund their share.”

The Times recently asked Auckland Transport (AT) for an update on the work of the final stage of the busway given it’s not being funded in the council’s 10-year budget.

A spokesperson says: “We are taking the Eastern Busway as far as we can, until we know what the connection is going to look like to the airport (Airport to Botany project).

“The proposal in the RLTP (regional land transport plan) still includes many of the wider benefits, including 4.5km of new busway and 0.5km of bus lanes, providing a rapid bus connection between Pakuranga and Botany.

“AT will continue to investigate funding and options for the remainder of the project.”

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