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Light rail derailed, East-West Link continues2 min read

Nov 6, 2023 2 min

Light rail derailed, East-West Link continues2 min read

Reading Time: 2 minutes
The new MP for Maungakiekie, Greg Fleming, says National will derail the light rail route, and continue the East-West Link.

The proposed construction of a light rail route along the SH20 is being derailed, while plans to continue with the East-West Link are gaining momentum.

According to the newly elected MP for Maungakiekie, Greg Fleming, “Christopher Luxon announced that we are not going to proceed with the light rail project through Onehunga, but we are still very committed to the East-West Link.”

The Auckland light rail project was a multi-billion dollar project which was spearheaded by the Labour Party, and to date, $66 million has been forked out on consultants and contractors.

Before coming into power last month, National promised to bring the light rail project to a grinding halt within the first 100 days, but their announcement came less than a week after they won.

The project would have seen a 24km route being built alongside the SH20 and the edge of the Onehunga Bay Lagoon. This route was the lesser of two evils, as the other route snaked through the Onehunga suburbs, and would have had a serious impact on the community.

KiwiRail dropped a bombshell and recently announced plans to build a heavy rail track on their dormant corridor.

Greg says the government will have a say in the heavy rail, and they have the ability to make the final call, even though he is totally against the route. “I am not keen to have heavy rail through Onehunga and will be advocating this all the way,” he says.

“In my opinion, the corridor must be rezoned to green space and housing.”

Regarding the East-West Link, Greg says the new government is still very committed to the project, but timing decisions are pending. “Resource consent was given in 2017, so we just have to go back to where we were and hit the play button again,” he says.

While no official updates have been provided on Auckland Light Rail’s website yet, some residents remain hopeful that the project will move forward.

Amanda Wellgreen, the town manager for Onehunga, expressed her concerns, emphasising the importance of this rapid public transport project. “It will be very disappointing if the project was cancelled as this kind of rapid public transport is an asset for Onehunga as well as Māngere.”