Hamilton Mayor Andrew King says confirmation of central government funding for a start-up passenger rail service is a great boost for the region.
The NZ Transport Agency Board has approved a business case for the next steps in the trial Hamilton to Auckland passenger rail service, Transport Minister Phil Twyford has announced.
The business case allows for the fit-out of rolling stock and the detailed design of infrastructure.
“This is a significant and welcome contribution to supporting population and economic growth in the Hamilton to Auckland corridor, and it’s an example of partnerships and collaboration producing great results,” Mayor King says.
“We look forward to seeing the details of the Board decision and the next steps.”
The Council will proceed with developing a rail station and park-and-ride facility near The Base in Rotokauri, using funding already allocated in the Council’s 2018-28 10-Year Plan. The start-up service is expected to be operating in March 2020.
“Hamilton’s residents, and future Hamiltonians, are already seeing what can be achieved through effective partnerships with central government as we enable growth in the Peacocke area in the city’s south. Government funding through the Housing Infrastructure Fund is saving our ratepayers millions of dollars and finally enabling this crucial work to go ahead.
“Now we are looking forward to government funding enabling the establishment of a rail service which will be a key part of managing congestion as our city, and the region, grows.
“There have been many agencies and organisations and staff involved in making this rail connection happen, but on behalf of Hamilton I would like to thank the government and Minister Twyford for his efforts to drive and support initiatives which support our city’s development,” Mayor King says.
“I must also recognise the efforts and endorsement of the business case by our neighbouring councils as well as the support around our Council table. Particularly, I pay tribute to the drive of Cr Dave Macpherson, chair of our Growth and Infrastructure Committee, who has been an untiring champion of a start-up rail service for our city as part of a truly-connected mass transit network,” Mayor King says.
NZTA will now work with local councils and KiwiRail to develop a pre-implementation plan in early 2019.