The upgrade of the suburban rail station at Swanson will be the first project to benefit from a streamlined process to simplify and accelerate funding approval for transport projects in Auckland.
The process has been developed by the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport.
“It’s an important development that will allow more efficient use of staff time and resources” says the Transport Agency’s Planning and Investment Manager in Auckland, Coralie O’Brien. Previously, both the Transport Agency and Auckland Transport would separately assess and prioritise/rate requests for funds.
Under the “one stop shop” designed by the two organisations, Auckland Transport can now assess projects against the Transport Agency criteria itself without having to send its applications to the agency.
“The new process is expected to speed up approvals and result in lower administration costs. Previously, funding requests required two separate assessments – one from us and one from Auckland Transport – a process that sometimes led to duplicated effort.”
Mrs O’Brien says the Transport Agency will still use its own rigorous system to monitor the use of its funds. However, Auckland Transport can now manage the new process for projects up to $5m, like the Swanson Station upgrade, on its own.
The upgrade is the first project to be approved under the new process. The proposed improvements at Swanson include:
Auckland Transport is the first organisation to be accorded a delegation authority by the Transport Agency and AT’s Chief Financial Officer, Richard Morris, says it reflects a major achievement.
“It makes sense to go through the funding approval process only once, provided the Transport Agency has confidence in the way AT applies funding guidelines and processes. The Transport Agency’s confidence in us reflects the strong relationship staff from the two organisations have developed, and the fact that we have a good understanding of each other’s objectives and priorities.”
One of the Transport Agency’s roles is to provide funds from its National Land Transport Programme to help councils and their organisations deliver a range of public transport, roading and cycling and walking projects for their communities.
The Transport Agency funds distributed to local bodies and their organisations like Auckland Transport are gathered from excise duties on fuel, road user charges and vehicle registration fees and re-invested in transport-related project like those at Swanson.
Mrs O’Brien says the new process also gives Auckland Transport the choice to manage a suite of projects together, rather than one at a time.
“It means more time and energy can be focussed on the project itself rather than on administration. This new process is a great example of our two organisation’s ‘whole of network’ approach, making sure we've got joined up thinking and joined up delivering.”
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