Clarity may be about to emerge for the backers and suppliers of a new integrated ticketing system for Auckland public transport.
Funding for the project has been stalled while the New Zealand Transport Agency reviewed the procurement process and funding requirements of the project, it told Computerworld in April.
Now a spokesman says that review is complete.
"The NZTA's review of the procurement process and associated funding requirements for the Auckland integrated ticketing system has been concluded," spokesman Andrew Knackstedt says. "We are now in the process of communicating the outcome of the review to the parties involved."
"NZTA is also considering the implications of last week's announcements by ARC, and our board will review funding requirements for the integrated ticketing system at its July meeting."
ARC chairman Mike Lee told Computerworld last night he had not yet been briefed on the outcomes of NZTA's review.
Last week, Lee told Computerworld the aRC had trimmed the original integrated ticketing plan and decided to borrow $15 million to help fund its share. The NZTA was to fund 60% of the project cost.
"We're putting the ball back in the government's court," Lee said.
Computerworld also revealed the contents of a letter from Lee to Minister of Transport Steven Joyce, also copied to the Prime Minister.
The government's decision to eliminate a regional fuel tax effectively pulled funding from a range of ARC and ARTA capital projects, according to the letter, dated 6 May. In it, Lee says the elimination of the fuel tax, pressure not to increase rates and lower income from trading operations could require the ARC to reprioritise its capital spending, including investment in railways, Eden Park, a regional park and the integrated ticketing system.
"For the government to simply remove committed funding without providing a comparable alternative is completely unacceptable," Lee wrote to Joyce. "The government's decision puts the ARC into an untenable position."
He wrote that the ARC needed urgent advice from NZTA on its position regarding the integrated ticketing project.
ARTA had hoped to award the contract for the project before Christmas. There were three contenders for the contract – Infratil, Thales and Downer EDI. It is widely understood that Thales was selected for the build by ARTA.