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Waikato District Council endorses passenger rail business case

A business case seeking central government funding for a start-up passenger rail service between Hamilton and Auckland was endorsed by the Waikato District Council at a specially-convened council meeting today (Wednesday 28 November).

Mayor Allan Sanson said after the meeting, “This is a critical initiative for our district to ensure we can deliver a vision of liveable, thriving and connected communities as our growth continues to accelerate, and that we can provide a choice of transport for district residents who need to commute to work in Auckland or Hamilton.”

Deputy Mayor Dynes Fulton said at the meeting, “This has been a very robust process. We worked across boundaries with Hamilton City and Waikato Regional Council and others. I congratulate everyone involved for the goodwill that enabled this to happen so quickly. I look forward to seeing the service develop over time.”

The Council agreed that $240,000 funding set aside in the Long Term Plan to support a Tuakau rail facility would be re-allocated for the development of facilities at the Huntly rail station, such as shelter, lighting, CCTV, pedestrian access and a park-and-ride, to meet the requirements of the business case to get a start-up service operational by early 2020.

Nevertheless the Council also agreed that a passenger rail facility at Tuakau, given the existing population and planned growth in the area, must be a priority. They noted that this will be considered through the appropriate Hamilton to Auckland Corridor Plan work stream.

The Council also agreed to lead a separate business case for a train station at Te Kauwhata to be considered in year 3 of the start-up passenger rail service.

Total funding needed for the project is $76.27 million over the first six years, from 2019 to 2024, with $66.81 million coming from central government's National Land Transport Fund, and the balance from local government, mostly via Waikato Regional Council rating, with financial assistance from the NZ Transport Agency, and rail fare revenue.

The business case has already been endorsed by the Waikato Regional Council and awaits endorsement from Hamilton City Council before it goes to the NZ Transport Agency Board on 14 December.

For more information please contact:
Crystal Beavis
Senior Communications Advisor
Waikato District Council
07 824 8633