Artist's impression of Light Rail on Queen St  City Centre MasterplanFrom the Puketapapa (Mt Roskill) end it’s a very, very, cautious welcome to Auckland Transport’s proposals to extend tramlines (light rail) along key routes on Auckland’s isthmus.

Don’t get us wrong – we like the idea. Fact, efficient, clean trams zipping along Sandringham Rd, Dominion Rd, and Mt Eden Rd would be a great addition to the region’s public transport network. People here in Roskill already have some of the highest public transport usage in Auckland, with over 50% of trips on Dominion Rd being by bus.

The caution lies in the fact that this is not a fully formed proposal. Critically, we don’t have clear information about funding. Initial estimates are that we are talking about a $1 billion project. At a time when we are all focussed on getting funding for the critical CRL project across the line, that is a big ask. Moreover, this new idea has put the previous Dominion Rd project on ice. The Dominion Rd upgrade had been painstakingly consulted on for four years with millions invested in design and consultation. Our community was looking forward to work commencing now to increase bus capacity and improve our dilapidated town centre in Mt Roskill. As exciting as trams are, it wasn’t a great feeling for Auckland Transport to suddenly halt the project and come up with a big new idea at the last minute.

The Local Board has been told that we will have more clarity in a couple of months as to which direction – the proposed Dominion Rd upgrade or trams – we will go in. For our community a big focus is on desperately needed improvements to the Roskill centre, so whichever option we will be demanding action soon. If trams are the option we’ll also be advocating that they carry on past Mt Albert Rd so that the majority of Puketapapa residents in Roskill central, Roskill South, Wesley, Hillsborough, and Lynfield have good access to the new network

Michael Wood, Puketapapa Local Board