Getting Aucklanders to the airport: $60 million public transport project creates division

The joint venture to bring more reliable public transport to Auckland, especially to the airport is creating division and mixed views.  

A contract has been awarded for work to start on a $60 million interchange at Puhinui station in Auckland's south.

But detractors say it's short-sighted and a waste of money.

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Critics are calling the move short-sighted and a waste of money. Source: 1 NEWS

From Britomart in Auckland's CBD, it takes just over half an hour to travel by train to Puhinui station.

Once this part of the wider rapid transit plan is in place it'll then be 10 minutes from the station to the airport on either buses or light rail.

“A station like Puhinui here is a critical link between this emerging rapid transit connection to the airport and the whole of the heavy rail network,” said Auckland Mayor, Phil Goff, speaking at the station.

The interchange is costing $60 million, with the Government chipping in $45 million through the NZTA and the rest of the money coming from Aucklanders' rates and the regional fuel tax.

“This is one of the best investments of $60 million dollars we could make,” says Mr Goff.

But protestors say it's short-sighted.

"Given that Aucklanders have said they want a fast train to the airport, that money could go towards building a direct rail connection to the airport," says Lobby group, NZ Transport 2050 Chairman, Paul Miller.

But Transport Minister Phil Twyford says a heavy rail connection from Puhinui to the airport doesn’t stack up.

"It wouldn’t deliver rapid transit to any new communities and it just doesn’t rate as a priority given all the other important investments we have to make,” he said.

Work is set to begin on the Puhinui interchange in October, and they're hoping it'll be completed within 18 months of construction starting.