Micahel Irwin donated 2016-05-28 15:25:18 +1200
Documents released by Transport Blog show that the Government only plan to designate a road based harbour crossing, and not have any rail connection to the North Shore. 
The decision to cut public transport links from the original Harbour Bridge was a huge mistake in the past, and it is outrageous that NZTA are planning to repeat this. We can’t let this happen.
The Minister of Transport is gambling he can progress with planning a road only crossing before the case can be made for a rail crossing.
This is where you come in. We're going to start the debate over a rail crossing by putting public opinion front in centre. Here’s how we’ll do it:
Hundreds of us will chip in for an opinion poll of Aucklanders asking if they would support a rail crossing. I’ve already talked with an independent polling company and they can get this up and running once we get the funds to do it. We can show the Minister is on the wrong side of public opinion on this issue.
We’ll then make sure the results are front and centre in our national media with the results of this people-powered poll.
We need 200 people to chip in $10 each before we can get this poll going so donate now so we can make sure the next harbour crossing has rail to the North Shore.
In the media, we hit back calling the Minister of Transport out for this shortsightedness over the new harbour crossing.  His response: “Rather than defaulting to rail technologies used since the 1860s, you'd hope that Gen Zero would be advocating for other options to be considered.” The Minister can patronise us all he likes but that won’t magic up a serious plan for Auckland transport.
At a fundamental level, his statements miss the bigger picture. Auckland has started to move again since we began investing in an efficient public transport network. It needs to continue to do so. NZTA even showed their cards. A spokesperson said the agency could designate only for the road component of the crossing and would only future-proof it for a public transport crossing after all is said and done. This would be a disaster. We can’t afford build a road only crossing and then a rail crossing in the distant future. We need to build a rail crossing as well.
After the City Rail Link is built the next major area of development is the North Shore. But this can’t happen if we fail to have a rail connection to the North Shore. The minister needs to get on board with this plan.
If there’s one thing this Government is moved by is when they’re shown to be on the wrong side of public opinion, this is effectively what happened with the City Rail Link as they were left the only ones opposing the project. That’s why if we can put public opinion right at the centre of the debate over the harbour crossing we can really shake the debate up.
So become one of 200 people to chip in the $10 we need to allow me to get this public poll up and running, so we can make sure the next harbour crossing has rail to the North Shore.
When we first built a harbour crossing, building a road-only bridge has been seen in retrospect as one of the most glaring mistakes made in developing our city’s transport network. Decades later, with the addition of the Northern Busway and the soon to be built Skypath, we are still struggling to rectify this shortsightedness. We cannot afford to make that same mistake again.
No new technology matches the speed, capacity and high frequency possible with a modern driverless rail solution. Cities like Vancouver, Copenhagen and Dubai, have learnt this lesson, and have recently rolled out new driverless metro rail lines, with many more in the planning.
The issue at hand though is whether the Government will progress with a road-only harbour crossing. The agency told the Herald that they have not ruled it out, but the documents do leave the impression that this is the plan, leaving Auckland Transport to try to sort out a public transport crossing at a later date. This would be ill-considered and unnecessarily rushed, with the multibillion-dollar Western Ring route not opening until next year. This was progressed as it offered north to south traffic the opportunity to bypass the bridge, thus reducing pressure on the bridge and roads around it.
The missing link is a rail connection to the North Shore. It should be at the top of the Minister of Transport’s priority list. So let’s make it by showing that by not supporting out-right a rail crossing the Minister is completely against public opinion. Chip in $10 now.
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Another Road Only Harbour Crossing on the Cards? By Matt L, on May 23rd, 2016
Harbour tunnel raises rail worry, NZ Herald, Tuesday May 24, 2016