Saturday, July 20, 2024

Dame Fran Wilde to lead Auckland light rail board

Dame Fran Wilde will lead the board overseeing the design and construction of Auckland’s largest, most transformational project of a generation – Auckland Light Rail, which will connect hundreds of thousands of people across the city, Minister of Transport, Michael Wood announced today.

“Auckland Light Rail is New Zealand’s largest and most complex infrastructure project. It will bring far-reaching benefits for communities by increasing access, boosting economic growth and unlocking productivity gains across the region,” Mr Wood said.

“It is crucial that we have a chair and board who understand the opportunity this project provides and has the experience and insight to lead the delivery of light rail for Auckland.

“Dame Fran is a highly experienced director who has served as a Cabinet Minister, Mayor, and in senior governance roles on many significant central and local government as well as private sector boards. She is an excellent fit for the role. Her diverse experience in governance, community involvement, work with iwi, infrastructure and delivering transport and urban development outcomes will be invaluable in the role of ALR Chair.”

Joining Dame Fran Wilde on the board are Lucy Tukua and Leigh Auton.

Lucy Tukua.

“Lucy Tukua is an experienced director and leader with close working relationships with mana whenua, communities and Treaty Partners. Ms Tukua has extensive experience working to improve outcomes across Tāmaki Makaurau, working with iwi to deliver plans and programmes. Her appointment will ensure te ao Māori is embedded into the Board from its inception,” Minister Wood said.

Leigh Auton.

“Leigh Auton has experience as both a consultant and professional director, as well as extensive experience in local government. The ALR Board will benefit from his experience in governance, urban design and infrastructure planning, local government and community engagement. Mr Auton’s appointment ensures there is continuity from the ALR Establishment Unit Board which he has contributed to significantly.”

The Auckland Light Rail project will provide a 24km route with up to 18 stations or stops from the City Centre to Māngere and the airport, running every five minutes and capable of carrying up to 15,000 passengers per hour at peak – four times more passengers than a dedicated busway or trackless trams.

The route will include tunnelled light rail from Wynyard Quarter to Mt Roskill, continuing above ground to the airport running parallel to the SH20 motorway, with the provision of safe walking and cycling options along the corridor and with connections to all stations.

“The light rail route will also be integrated with current train and bus hubs and the City Rail Link stations and connections, bringing Auckland’s transport infrastructure into the 21st century, allowing faster trips and reduced emissions. City Rail Link is the heart of Auckland’s transport network, and Light Rail will form the spine of what will be a fully integrated rapid transport network that will lead us into the future,” Mr Wood said.

He said light rail could also be extended to the North Shore and North West without having to transfer from one line to the other.

“This transformational project will also help to create up to 97,000 new jobs by 2051.”

The new board for Auckland Light Rail will take effect from 1 June, following the conclusion of the work completed by the current Establishment Unit Board on 31 May.

“On behalf of Ministers, I would like to acknowledge and thank the hard work of the Establishment Unit Board in guiding the development of the Indicative Business Case and taking the Light Rail process forward,” Mr Wood said.

“Auckland Light Rail is making excellent progress. The tender for detailed design is currently out to market as part of an integrated approach with the Alternative Waitemata Harbour Crossing, and work on policy, funding, and urban design components is well underway. We continue to engage with communities along the route, and Auckland Airport has recently announced provision for Light Rail in its $300 million plans for a new transport hub.

“I look forward to seeing Auckland Light Rail continue to progress under Dame Fran and board’s leadership,” the Minister said.

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