The Government is progressing a preferred option for LGWM which will see Wellington’s transport links strengthened with light rail from Wellington Station to Island Bay, a new tunnel through Mt Victoria and upgrades to improve traffic flow at the Basin Reserve.
“Where previous governments have failed to plan for the long term, we are committed to supporting Wellington to reach its future potential,” said Infrastructure Minister, Grant Robertson.
“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to shape Wellington’s future, align transport and urban development, and help to address the climate crisis by moving more people with fewer vehicles.”
Mr Robertson said the southern light rail option was the Government’s preferred choice for Wellington due to the significant potential it offers for new housing and neighbourhood growth.
“By 2050 we’re expecting up to 80,000 more people to be living within the city limits, and 25 percent more people coming into the central city each workday from across the region,” he said.
Light rail will support more people living centrally, close to where they work, study and live their lives, the Minister said.
“Our capital needs a linked-up rapid transit transport network that will serve Wellingtonians into the future, making it faster to move through the city, connecting communities, providing greater access to businesses, all while reducing congestion,” said Transport Minister, Michael Wood.
“The Government is upgrading New Zealand’s transport system to make it safer, greener, and more efficient for now and future generations to come. Our commitment to infrastructure investment will continue to play a critical part in securing New Zealand’s economy and recovery from COVID-19.
“Today’s announcement will also provide certainty to our partners and those living in Wellington and is an important step in progressing the project. It builds on the work underway across the city to improve transport choices, including transforming the Golden Mile, improving safety and urban attractiveness on Thorndon Quay and Hutt Road, and the construction of a roundabout on Aotea Quay,” he said.
Following agreement of the Let’s Get Wellington Moving partners, work will commence on a detailed business case, said Minister Wood.
“I know Wellingtonians are keen to see progress and we have asked the programme for options to fast track progress and early works, with consideration of phasing options.”
“Given the scale of the project, the detailed business case will also consider the alternative option of a rapid bus network on the light rail route. This is a prudent step to take and ensures we can maintain momentum on the project.
“The previous Government called Wellington a dying city and did nothing to address the challenges facing the capital, which has left us playing catch-up. Fixing years of poor planning for population growth and delivering high-quality, world-class transport networks for our cities is a priority for this Government, and today’s decision is proof of our commitment to Poneke.
“The data tells us that the costs of delaying this project for another decade will only see costs increase. Wellingtonians recognise the need for this investment, they want us to get on with it, and we are,” Mr Wood said.
He said the Government will await confirmation from partners that they agree to proceed with this option to the detailed business case phase, which will be considered by Cabinet.