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The Government may have to scale back its $6 billion light rail programme for Auckland by scrapping a line from the city centre to west Auckland, says Transport Minister Phil Twyford.
The MP for Te Atatu said it was his strong preference to see light rail built from the city centre to the west and to the airport, but if it is not possible to fund and finance both lines, then light rail to the airport will get priority.
If that happened, a rapid bus network - along the lines of the Northern Busway - would be considered along State Highway 16 to the north-west, he said.
Along with KiwiBuild, light rail is one of Labour's flagship policies. It was announced by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at her first public appearance as Leader of the Opposition in August 2017 where she called it a "game-changer" and a solution to the city's congestion.
Ardern promised to build light rail to Mt Roskill within four years, followed by light rail from Mt Roskill to the airport and to Westgate in west Auckland within 10 years. Labour later said it would extend the western line a further 9km to Kumeu.
Last month, the Herald reported work on light rail, or modern-day trams, is making slow progress as bureaucrats grapple with the complexities of one of the biggest projects in New Zealand's history.
The Treasury, Ministry of Transport and NZ Transport Agency are working on business cases for the two lines and a procurement process.
This article first appeared on www.nzherald.co.nz
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