Auckland's light rail is a "step closer", with the procurement process agreed by Cabinet today, in addition to a proposal from the Superannuation Fund to design, build and operate the network.
It is anticipated the two light rails will be able to travel 11,000 commuters an hour, "the equivalent of four lanes of motorway", Transport Minister Phil Twyford said today in a statement.
Minister of Finance Grant Robertson said "New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) will now set up a robust process to explore a range of possible procurement, financing and project delivery options".
"The procurement process covers both the city to Mangere and the city to North West lines.
"This process will invite and assess all potential proposals and report back to the Ministers of Finance and Transport. The Transport Agency will work with the Treasury and the Ministry of Transport in this process."
"The recently announced 10-year transport plan for Auckland earmarked $1.8 billion in seed funding with the option of securing private investment in the network."
The government revealed it had received an unsolicited proposal from the New Zealand Superannuation Fund last month, "which proposed they would form an international consortium to design, build and operate Auckland's light rail network," Mr Twyford said.
"The government will not be commenting further on the proposal other than to say that we welcome the strong interest in light rail and acknowledge that any investors will require a reasonable commercial return. The procurement process agreed by Cabinet will review all other proposals in the same way as the Super Fund's proposal is assessed."
NZ Super Fund released a statement saying it wants to explore "NZ Super Fund-led consortium leveraging our international relationships can fund and deliver the project, on a fully commercial basis", said acting chief executive Matt Whineray.
The light rail lines are expected to be completed in the next 10 years.