The Government has confirmed that the cost of the City Rail Link has blown out to between $2.8 billion and $3.4 billion.
It is understood the Government insisted overnight that a dollar figure be made public today when it signed the heads of agreement with Auckland Council.
Yesterday, the Government and council had planned to leave out a dollar figure on the project until tenders are let for the remaining contracts.
In June, Prime Minister John Key predicted the rail link will "almost certainly cost more than they thought".
Once complete, the CRL will be one of New Zealand's largest-ever transport projects. The 3.4km underground train line will run from Britomart station in downtown Auckland through the CBD to connect with the existing western line at Mt Eden station.
Will it be worth it? I don’t think so. The cost of subsidising every passenger journey will be borne by all ratepayers, the vast majority of whom will never use the link. The project is already taking its toll on other regional transport infrastructure such as simple routine road maintenance as every cent is sucked out of the system to pay for this one vainglorious hole in the ground. In order to keep the city from crumbling into the sea host of new taxes and levies is being foisted on the hapless ratepayer and car driver. Meanwhile debt escalates, and debt interest repayments gobble up increasing amounts of Council’s revenue. Rates will have to rise for sure.
The CRL is the Oliver Twist project crippling Auckland