The 10-year-budget passed by Auckland Council means we can now take immediate action on the Hibiscus Coast and across Auckland to tackle transport issues at the same time as keeping rates affordable and debt low.
I promised to make the tough decisions to get Auckland moving after years of under-investment in infrastructure and I believe this budget strikes that balance.
You made it clear you were especially sick of Auckland’s traffic problems.
So in addition to agreeing on the level of overall investment for the next 10 years, we agreed to a three year interim transport levy that will enable an Accelerated Transport Programme to help get Auckland moving.
There was especially strong support for getting moving on Penlink. The 10-year budget now enables the council to advance designation and consenting work on this alternative route between Whangaparaoa Peninsula and State Highway 1.
This 5.8km shorter route is an important piece of work. Commuters using the new road will save 12-18 minutes using toll road with a five-minute saving on the existing route.
We will now also be able to extend the hugely successful park and rise and bus lane network. The latest public transport patronage figures show a 13.3 percent increase for the Northern Busway. In the financial year to date Northern Express patronage has grown by 17.2 percent.
This budget will allow us to look at new Northern Busway stations and an extension to the Silverdale Park and Ride to further improve the catchment, popularity and patronage of busway services.
Our partnership with NZTA also means that in the next three years work will start on the design and consenting for an extension of the Northern Busway to the Albany bus station.
And travelling into central Auckland will be half an hour faster during off peak when Auckland Transport rolls out its New Network on the Hibiscus Coast in October.
More double decker buses will also be on the Northern Express from January, increasing capacity by approximately 25 percent between Albany and Britomart.
The Coast will be the first area of Auckland to get a simplified and more frequent bus network.
Northern Express services will operate between the coast and the city at least every 30 minutes seven days a week, and every 15 minutes at peak times.
During the long term plan process, for the first time, we have had the opportunity to better empower communities in their local development. Your views were heard and considered by the local board.
In all we received 34,300 responses from locals in this area.
Another strong wish you expressed was to retain a seven-day library service. The consultation feedback showed how highly Aucklanders value their libraries.
So in response to that, we won’t be cutting hours, but will redistribute them fairly.
The Hibiscus and Bays Local Board gave the green light to these projects (as covered in Hibiscus Matters’ May 20 edition): – Upgrading Stanmore Bay Leisure Centre
– Development of Metropark East sportsfields including a hockey turf
– Local and sports parks renewals including coastal asset upgrades
– Ongoing improvements to Stoney Homestead
– Providing contestable grant funding to community groups
– Enabling the Youth Connections model to continue to be delivered locally
– Preparation of a town centre plan for Whangaparaoa
– Development of a Business Improvement District for Silverdale
– Continuing support for local environmental programmes.
Our budget is a bold plan that obviously won’t fund everything that needs to be done but it’s a great start.