Keep up your messages to political candidates to get Penlink built and open within five years.
Having been brought forward into the current decade (2018/19 – 2027/28) in the updated Government – Auckland Council aligned transport programme (ATAP), there is now nothing holding it back (except political indecision) from an immediate start.
“Ready to Go,” consented, land purchased and with a Benefit-Cost Ratio (BCR) of 5.7, meaning that for every dollar spent it will return $5.70, and costing just $240 million as a two-lane highway, Penlink has emerged at the top of the list of repriortised projects for accelerated investment.
The next highest ranked projects are the Mill Road Corridor in South Auckland and some arterial roads in different areas of Auckland – all ranked at around 3.7 and costing $300 – to - $500 million. By comparison, the proposed completion of isthmus mass transit (i.e. Labour’s city to Mt Roskill light rail) within 10 years has a BCR of 0.7 – 1.9; i.e. a return of less than $2 for each dollar of the $700 million it will cost, and then its operation will likely require a subsidy.
In Auckland’s $2 billion annual capital transport programme, the $240 million for Penlink is at the small end of cost yet the benefits are at the top end, dominated by reduced congestion, travel time savings, and enabling nearby Wainui-Silverdale housing developments.
As the Waterview Tunnels has shown, a completed Penlink will give commuters 40-50 minutes at both ends of the day, encourage tradies and delivery drivers to give better service to Peninsula people, and boost productivity and the morale of Silverdale and Whangaparaoa business communities.
So let’s just get on and build it. The updated ATAP notes Penlink’s business case support for a toll, which our Chamber survey shows the community is prepared to pay. That’s a bonus for Council-Government; it will generate revenue not incur a subsidy.
New Zealand First has given support for a Penlink PPP, but Labour won’t say – it wants six months to review all Auckland transport projects. Why? Achieving an aligned ATAP programme reflects two years of Wellington-Auckland work. The case for Penlink has been reviewed at a political level probably 10-12 times in the past 20 years – and every time it has come out as totally justified. It has been “ready to go” for years.
The Penlink story shows why politics must be taken be taken out of Auckland’s agenda to solve our huge and worsening traffic congestion. We face a 10-year ‘catch-up’ of decades of delayed infrastructure. Logic says start with Penlink immediately, and not let politics delay it and the rest of Auckland’s long-agreed transport agenda any longer.