NZTA backs down from light rail, looks at spending millions elsewhere
The Labour-led Government has been forced into another humiliating rail backdown during its "year of delivery", conceding that most of the $463 million set aside by the NZ Transport Agency to spend on the Auckland light rail project will now be spent on other projects, including roads.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford admitted on Tuesday that the NZTA was now looking at other ways of spending $313 million of the $463 million it had planned to spend on light rail, after the project hit serious delays.
The reversal has come about because construction on the light rail – which will run from Auckland's central business district to Mt Roskill, a distance of 8 kilometres by car – has been delayed until at least 2021. In the lead up to the 2017 election, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern promised that this section of the light rail track, which would later continue out to Auckland airport, would be built in just four years.