Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said the Auckland Council Governing Body’s approval of an additional $500 million in funding for the transformational City Rail Link was the right decision.

Mayor Phil Goff said, “This project is critical to the future of this city. More than $700 million has already been invested in the first two stages of the tunnel. Without the CRL, Auckland will hit gridlock and the city will grind to a halt.

“The CRL is the biggest investment Council is making in transport infrastructure in the next few years. Securing additional funding ensures it will be future-proofed for growth.

“The additional cost to Council will not involve higher rates for Aucklanders and it will be met without breaching the debt to revenue limit on Council borrowing.

“The cost of the tunnels and underground stations, two of the biggest parts of the project, was determined by a competitive tender process. The increased cost estimate reflects the increase in demand and costs for major construction projects across Australasia.

“A significant part of the cost increase, some $250 million, reflects the need to future proof the tunnels and stations. We won’t repeat the mistake of the Harbour Bridge which was built at half of the size it needed to be and had to have major additions made to it within eight years.

“Another $300 million is money not spent but is there as a contingency against any potential cost escalations.

“Without additional funding, the CRL would not have been fit for purpose. We would have had another Harbour Bridge on our hands which was built at half of the size it needed to be and had to have major additions made to it within eight years.

“We’ve got one shot at getting the CRL right. Approving additional funding today will ensure that we do.

“Providing additional funding to CRLL will require careful management of Council spending. Council will continue to pursue efficiency and value for money initiatives, and take a conservative approach to new spending,” Phil Goff said.

In approving its funding commitment to the CRL, Council approved the following initiatives to generate the additional $500 million:

  • Interest cost savings due to lower market interest rates;
  • A reduction in cash holdings from improved cash management;
  • Re-assessment of the valuation of operating commitments which impact on Auckland Council’s debt policy limits;
  • Agree to progress a strategy to assess future off-street parking requirements for Auckland, including additional investment in park and ride facilities and net surplus to fund City Rail Link (CRL); and
  • Flexibility around the timing of Auckland Council’s CRL contributions.

Funding of the CRL is met jointly by Council and Government on a 50/50 basis.