The Capital Connection, the commuter rail service between Palmerston North and Wellington will be cut by August unless a new funding package can be brought together.
The proposal is for Horizons Regional Council, Greater Wellington Regional Council and the NZTA to fund the Capital Connection as part of the Wellington Metro rail service.
This makes complete sense since the Capital Connection is the only commuter rail service in New Zealand that is currently expected to run on a totally commercial model. The funding proposal simply brings the Capital Connection into line with every other commuter train in the country.
The problem is that while the two regional councils have indicated support for the proposal, the NZTA is holding out. Why? Because a Road of National Significance is being built near by.
Suddenly, the only criteria the NZTA will consider is whether or not the rail line will relieve congestion. Ignore the environmental benefits, ignore the social benefits it’s all about congestion and of course spending billions on roads that don’t stack up economically is much better than encouraging people to use the train.
If yet another regional rail service is lost this year, it will have been killed off by National’s significant obsession with roads.