28 May 2009

Fears of delays for electric rail in Auckland

6:58 am on 28 May 2009

There is fear the plan to electrify Auckland's rail system will be delayed by a new Government move to consider a private company to do the job.

The billion-dollar project was to be funded from a regional fuel tax but the Government scrapped the tax earlier this year.

Transport Minister Stephen Joyce now says he is considering working in partnership with a private firm to get the job done.

Auckland Regional Council Chairman Mike Lee says the news is frustrating, as it has already started seeking tenders for the work.

He says with the Government now changing the rules, the tender process will have to be cancelled, which will cause delays.

However Mr Joyce says the project will not be delayed.

He says the work around expressions of interest is not lost because it could still be used by Kiwirail.

Mr Joyce says the private public partnership is only one option being considered and would be used to help fund the trains rather than the tracks.