By Bevan Woodward, AHB Pathway Trustee and Project Director
Following NZTA‘s agreement on the structural feasibility of the AHB Pathway, the proposal’s future is now in Auckland Council’s hands.
At their next meeting on May 15, Auckland Council’s Transport Committee will decide whether or not to support the Pathway project. Council support and funding through the LTP will enable full investigation of the proposal, including further design and local consultation.
Project Director Bevan Woodward says that the AHB Pathway Trust has identified a potential private funder and a naming rights sponsor. “The project now requires seed funding from Council of $2 million to cover the pre-construction costs. However these costs can be capitalised and reimbursed to Council by the project’s external funders once construction begins.”
The AHB Pathway Trust believes the Pathway can be built at minimal or no cost to Auckland Council, and the revenue projections show Council receiving dividends from the Pathway’s toll revenue in return for underwriting some of the project risk, with the majority of the project risk carried by the private debt and equity funders.
Bevan says he hopes Council chooses to support the Pathway given that NZTA has agreed it’s structurally feasible and won’t affect future bridge traffic in any way.
“It’s up to Council to carry through the benefits for Auckland and continue the positive progress made so far. The Pathway will have significant long-term tourism, commuting and recreational benefits for Auckland. With Council’s support it is possible that we can start construction next year.”
Since May 2011, NZTA and the AHB Pathway Trust have committed significant resources to identify and finalise the optimal design for a walking and cycling Pathway on the Auckland Harbour Bridge. As NZTA has said that funding for the Pathway won’t be available through the National Land Transport Programme, the Pathway Trust proposes that construction and operation is overseen by a Public Private Partnership (PPP) with Auckland Council and private funders.
The Pathway’s construction and operations will be funded by revenue from a toll on users and the sale of naming rights to the Pathway.
AHB Pathway Trustee and Project Director
Mobile: 021 122 6040
More information about the pathway at www.getacross.org.nz