The next phase of Let’s Get Wellington Moving is a business case that is expected to cost over $120 million. (File photo)
The next phase of the Let’s Get Wellington Moving project – a detailed business case without construction – will cost more than $120 million.
Last week, the government announced light rail to Island Bay and a second Mount Victoria tunnel as the preferred option for rapid transit in Wellington. He indicated that bus rapid transit and light rail transit will be included in the detailed business case, which could further increase costs.
Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council will choose a preferred option on Wednesday. Officials from both councils recommended Option 1 – light rail, a new Mount Victoria tunnel and an extension to the Arras tunnel.
The business case assesses the costs and technical details of the project – outlining everything from geotechnical reports on tunneling through Mount Victoria to updated population growth figures along the proposed light rail corridor.
* Both Wellington councils are ready to support light rail, Mount Victoria’s second tunnel
* Wellington commuters could wait decades for more frequent train service
* ‘Once in a generation’: Government backs light rail for $7.4bn transport overhaul in Wellington
It will take three years to complete. The cost will be split between the project partners – $24.1 million each from Wellington City Council and Greater Wellington Regional Council, and $72.4 million from Waka Kotahi.
Transport Minister Michael Wood reveals the government’s preferred option, Let’s Get Wellington Moving, which includes both a light rail and a second Mount Victoria tunnel.
Some city councilors have questioned the cost.
“It’s a phenomenal amount compared to the consultants and the business case audit,” said adviser Simon Woolf.
His colleague Nicola Young said it was “wild spending, when most options will never materialize – light rail in particular – and the population growth figures are questionable”.
Both Woolf and Young said light rail should not be considered in the business case. “Fantasizing about light rail is expensive for Wellingtonians – we should just keep going with bus rapid transit,” Young said.
Many advisors were comfortable with the cost of the business case, given the scale of the change and the risks of the $7.4 billion plan.
“When you cut corners in the planning and design phase, you create problems later,” said councilor Jenny Condie. “Investment in good planning will result in smoother implementation and better outcomes for the city.”
Laurie Foon said the figure was “breathtaking”, but it was essential to have a thorough business case that could inform the transition to a low-carbon transport system.
Deputy Mayor Sarah Free described the business case as the “detail” of the project, which needed to happen before moving forward.
“This is such a big transformational project and it’s so important to get it right. Although it’s a big expense, we’d pay for it later if we got the design wrong. »
Iona Pannett said $120 million would not be wasted in light of the $7 billion project.
Sean Rush thought the council’s $24.1 million share of the business case was worth spending. “But I expect mass fast items to be deemed unprofitable,” he said.
“It’s a lot of money, but Wellington needs us to do it right,” Fleur Fitzsimons said.