The cost of the Let’s Get Wellington Moving transportation plan may mean that it will not be fully delivered
Let’s Get Wellington Moving includes rapid transit from the city to the airport. Image / Supplied
The Treasury has warned that Wellington’s massive $ 6.4 billion transport plan is expected to cost much more than expected, increasing the risk of not being fully realized.
Let’s Get Wellington Moving (LGWM) was announced two years ago and includes the doubling of the Mount Victoria tunnel, rapid transit from the city to the airport, as well as priority bus measures and better walking. and cycling.
LGWM is a tripartite partnership between Wellington City Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and Waka Kotahi NZTA.
Economic and Fiscal 2021 Budget Update, released today, said LGWM board partners
indicated that the indicative package is expected to cost significantly more than previously anticipated.
This increased the risk that the project would not be delivered in its entirety, the document said.
“The ability to deliver the LGWM in its entirety also depends on the local government providing its own share. Due to competing funding priorities of the local councils, it is possible that the central government will be asked to help fund the LGWM.”
Wellington City Council, in particular, faces a heavy financial burden between its aging tri-water system, earthquake-prone buildings and a $ 400 million budget hole for social housing.
Greater Wellington Regional Council chairman Daran Ponter said the tax implications were real and could not be avoided.
“We will therefore either have to adapt our fabric to the new tax reality, or collectively find between the three partners more money to achieve the original objectives or the design specifications that we had when we embarked on this adventure. . “
Ponter said that doesn’t necessarily mean projects will be scrapped in their entirety, but it could include scaling them down.
He said the acquisition of land was contributing to cost pressure, house prices were skyrocketing.
“Just because we are purchasing this material under the Public Works Act does not mean that we are getting it for free.”
Ponter is set to become the new chairman of LGWM’s governance reference group.
He will succeed current chairman Sir Brian Roche in a few weeks at the group’s next meeting. The three LGWM partners have agreed to share the load over time.
In March, officials reported that LGWM was heading for a budget explosion as it tried to get the struggling transportation project back on track.
Transport Minister Michael Wood said today the government remains committed to the program, including its share of the investment needed to unlock Wellington.
“LGWM’s partners have not yet considered changing the costs and we plan to review this when we receive the commercial files for the rapid transit and national highway projects.
“Program changes should be approved by all partners.”
During Wellington City Council’s first briefing in Wood, as the new minister, the council said LGWM was unaffordable in its current form without new funding tools.
The document said the board wanted to speak urgently to the Minister of Transport about LGWM’s delivery and governance models, overall affordability and new potentials.
fundraising tools to ‘decide if changes are needed to ensure success’.
A LGWM “health check”, completed late last year, revealed leadership problems, a detrimental culture, inadequate resources and ultimately it was in danger of failure.
These issues began to be resolved through the creation of new roles and new employees.