Thursday, August 17, 2017

That rail plan

The big political news this morning in Greater Auckland's proposal for Auckland-Hamilton-Tauranga commuter rail. It looks like a good idea. In the southern part of the North Island we already have (limited) commuter rail between Palmerston North, Masterton and Wellington, which allows people to commute from the outlying centres. And with half the country's population living in the upper North Island, it makes sense to have similar transport links there. And while the interim network doesn't look great, with travel times which are no better than a car, stages 2 and 3 look like they'll offer serious advantages. High-speed commuter rail will bring the whole area together, and make Hamilton as close to Auckland as Wellington is to Waikanae. It also significantly reduces the cost of travel to Tauranga and Rotorua - places where people just don't fly, because its too expensive - which could boost those cities as well.

The Greens have already backed the plan and I'm wondering how long it will be until Labour follows suit.