More Failed Rail in New Zealand?
Like many governments before it, the Regional Council of Auckland Region has "fallen for the notion" that investment in heavy rail will spur economic growth, says McShane. The Council's new Vision for Auckland plan proposes a rail link to the Airport, a CBD rail loop, light rail on the surface streets, and a rail tunnel under the Waitemata harbour. However, McShane notes, rail projects rarely meet ridership or performance projections and typically experience large cost overruns, as evidenced by projects from the English Channel Tunnel to Denmark to Bay Area Rapid Transit's connection to Oakland airport.
There is little reason to believe Auckland's Vision plan will succeed where others have failed, McShane writes:
"No investment in rail in New World cities since the 1980s has resulted in a reduction in congestion. In most cases congestion has increased and public transport market share has diminished because the investment into rail has diminished funds for roads, buses and High Occupancy Toll lanes, measures that actually work to increase mobility."