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Promoters of a rail link to Auckland airport are turning up the heat to secure an agreement before it’s too late.
Lobby group The Campaign for Better Transport wants Auckland’s various transport agencies and Transit to designate a suitable railway corridor before construction of the second Manukau Harbour crossing begins.
Work on the project, which will increase the crossing from four lanes to eight,
is scheduled to begin next month.
Transit has no plans in place to integrate the crossing with Onehunga’s new railway station, which is due to open at the end of next year.
The lobby group says the two projects create the ideal opportunity to develop a railway line from Onehunga to the airport via the new harbour crossing.
With mediation through the Environment Court in December the group managed to obtain confirmation from Transit that it would work with the Auckland Regional Transport Authority and other agencies to facilitate a rail link to the airport from Onehunga.
But this could be up to 30 years away and funding is uncertain.
The group’s petition for a railway designation before work on the harbour crossing begins will be presented to the Auckland Regional Council on March 13.
Regional council chairman Mike Lee is one of the more than 5000 people who signed the petition.
Campaigner Jon Reeves says having airport rail would bring Auckland up to "first-world standards".
"When you look at other cities around the world, like London, Brisbane, Sydney, Geneva and Perth, they’ve all got rail connecting the airport to the city."
Catching the train to the airport would be cheaper and more reliable than going by car, Mr Reeves says.
"I used to live in Ellerslie and it would cost me at least $48 for a taxi to the airport. And it takes only one car or one accident and the whole southwestern motorway is in chaos and you get up to 2000 people missing their flights.
"Auckland’s also missing out on potential income when tourists grab rental cars and head straight out of the city."
A railway line would also service about 10,000 people who work at and around the airport.
"It’s a no-brainer. It has to go ahead," he says.
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