Government’s preferred transport option for Wellington revealed: light rail, second Mount Victoria tunnel

The plan is part of the $6.4 billion Let’s Get Wellington Moving program, a partnership between government, Wellington city and regional councils and Waka Kotahi.

However, the councils and Waka Kotahi have yet to agree to advance the proposal to the business case phase.

There are no indicative costs published with the plan, nor many details.

Infrastructure Minister Grant Robertson said it was a unique opportunity to reshape the city.

“[To] align transport and urban development, and help tackle the climate crisis by moving more people with fewer vehicles. »

The light rail would help service the significant number of new homes to be built over the next few decades to accommodate up to 80,000 new residents who are expected to live within city limits, Robertson said.

He expected a 25% increase in the number of people entering the city center each working day from across the region.

“Light rail will support more people living centrally, close to where they work, study and live,” Robertson said.

Transport Minister Michael Wood said: “Our capital needs a rapid transit system that will serve the people of Wellington in the future, speeding up travel around the city, connecting communities, providing better access to businesses, while reducing congestion”

Illustrations released by the government appeared to show altered two-way traffic in parts of the Basin Reserve and an extension of the Arras Tunnel under Pukeahu National War Memorial Park. They also showed the current Mount Victoria tunnel converted for walking and cycling only.

Informations about LGWM website indicated that the light rail or bus options would have dedicated lanes in some parts of the network. He expects the morning journey between Island Bay and the station to be shortened by 12 minutes – from 35 minutes to 23 minutes.

It appeared that the plan included either option to race down the Kent/Cambridge terraces. He also said local traffic would be physically separated from northbound National Route 1 traffic in the Basin Reserve area.

Green Party infrastructure and transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said the government’s preferred option would cost the most and have the biggest climate emissions.

She said it was unclear how this plan aligned with the government’s climate target of reducing the number of miles driven by private fossil fuel cars by 2035.

The LGWM program was officially launched in 2019 but has been plagued with problems and delays – with little concrete action so far apart from speed limit reductions in the city centre.

Things reports Treasury analysis that the price of $6.4 billion is expected to rise significantly.

Funding for the program is shared, with Wellington Councils funding 40% and the government supporting the rest of the tab.

RNZ

Jose P. Rogers