The New Zealand Transport Agency is widening the grounds it uses to assess the economic benefits of major projects, in a move expected to help public transport.
The agency's new criteria take into account a wider range of benefits over a longer period of time and enhance the case for Auckland's now-confirmed downtown rail tunnel.
Two years ago the Government said each dollar spent on Auckland's proposed downtown rail tunnel would deliver just 40 cents of benefit, but the council argued it could be four times higher.
The agency has revised how it calculates a benefit-to-cost ratio more in line with what the council and others have argued.
A wider range of benefits will be calculated over 40 years, rather than 30 years, helping expensive projects that have long lives including public transport services.