We mustn’t dismiss the Minister’s offer to fully fund SkyPath

We’ve had some push back from Auckland Council’s ‘Investment Office’ staff who are very keen on trying out a PPP, so we sent this open letter to all Councillors…

Dear Councillors,

We are most grateful of your support for SkyPath to date.  Without your support SkyPath would not be a consented, feasible and iconic solution to solve the most critical gap in Auckland’s walking and cycling network.

However we are concerned that Council’s ‘Investment Office’ is being dismissive of the Minister of Transport’s offer to fully fund SkyPath if the PPP’s various issues cannot be resolved.

As you will be aware, earlier this year Downer Construction withdrew from the PPP because SkyPath is too small and unique to work as a PPP.  We subsequently became concerned at the PPP’s estimated $248 million cost over 25 years to be underwritten by ratepayers and paid for by SkyPath users through increasingly more expensive tolls (well above the $2 each way originally proposed).  In a recent update to their Board, NZTA recognised that tolls for SkyPath users are an unresolved equity issue. 

Here are some key points to be aware of:

  1. When the SkyPath Trust met with Transport Minister Simon Bridges, the Minister said that if the PPP issues cannot be resolved then he could fund SkyPath in the next round of Urban Cycleways Programme funding.  The Investment Office has seized on the word “could” and used it to be dismissive of the Minister’s offer.  The Investment Office was not at the meeting and hence are unaware of how genuine the Minister’s offer to fund SkyPath really is.
  2.  It is incorrect of the Investment Office to claim that match funding would be required.  Projects on NZTA’s State Highway network are fully funded by Government.
  3. The Investment Office claims “the project is progressing well has never been in better shape to proceed as a PPP.”   The reality is progress on SkyPath’s development has stagnated since late last year when resource consent was granted.   With SkyPath Trust’s withdrawal, the PPP does not have the right to use the Trust’s intellectual property for the design, engineering and development of SkyPath.  The proposed PPP has no project.

Given the problems with the proposed PPP and the Minister’s response of offering to fund SkyPath, we are committed to a toll-free SkyPath for Auckland.  We ask for your ongoing support and welcome the opportunity to work with Council and Government to ensure the timely and efficient delivery of a toll-free SkyPath.

 

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The feedback we have is that the majority of Councillors support the offer of Government funding to enable a toll-free SkyPath for Aucklanders.   With the demise of the proposed PPP and the offer of funding from Transport Minister Simon Bridges, we are fully committed to ensuring a toll-free SkyPath!

5 Responses to “We mustn’t dismiss the Minister’s offer to fully fund SkyPath”

  1. 1 August 2017

    Richard Horner said:

    For Heavens sake get on and build the thing NOW . The Harbour Bridge is State Highway One and by today’s requirements a motorway can not be built without adequate access for non motorway traffic ( pedestrians, cyclists, horse riders and so on ). This was not the case in 1959 and except for public transport one had to walk via Riverhead.!! This was a more serious omission than the inadequate number of lanes.

    Please grab the Government’s money and build the path thus accepting their errors of the 50’s. In my view charging a toll now would be adding insult to injury, they should have paid the ferry fares for cyclists since the tolls were taken off the bridge.

  2. 1 August 2017

    Bob Campbell said:

    This has been going on for too long now. I would like my Grandchildren to be able to see this at some stage in their lives. and they will. Good on to the guys who have never given up. These are the sort of innovators that we need. Tell me why we need to have dirty dignitaries to be given pride of place positions. The Skypath teams have done most of the work. Now the hangers on will look for a position which will allow them to get their faces on TV.
    Pat the guys on their back who have contributed with a very sincere appreciative effort. Go the Pathway trust team who have made the efforts to innovate and create. Give the Beehive mob an ABC Box and wave them good bye

  3. 1 August 2017

    Concerned rate payer said:

    Originally I signed up to support this project under a toll basis. I haven’t been asked for continued support u be a new scheme…i don’t think it’s fair to assume public is fully behind this at a tax burden a opposed to a usage burden I.e. toll. I would not personally use this at all and would only support it under a toll option.

    Tolls are great since the people using pay. This huge cost should not be at the expense of other transport initiatives that benefit everyone and not just the few living in close proximity for walking or cycling the bridge to be a useful option.

  4. 1 August 2017

    Bruce Usher said:

    I say take the minister offer and lets get on and quickly build the Skypath..

  5. 2 August 2017

    Brendan Barry-Walsh said:

    Wish I could say it better than Bob Campbell but not sure that is possible!

    It is a no brainer investment to ease congestion. Look at the number of cyclists zipping out of the city along Quay Street Cycleway between 17:00 & 17:30 compared to 10 years ago. The Cycleway alongside the NW motorway was a broken glass strewn backwater not so long ago. Totally different scene to a weekday morning around 7:30 to 8:00 am, look out for the E bikes sliding easily past you on a pedal only bike heading for the city.

    Westhaven shared path is completed, the cycleway along Queen Street, Northcote Point well under way with the Seapath also to come, traffic count of cyclists commuting increasing year on year and the critical mass already there for the missing link to be a huge success.

    Thanks to Andy & Bevan

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