It's full steam ahead for passenger rail.

Maintenance of the rail carriages earmarked for the Hamilton to Auckland passenger rail service will receive the maximum funding rate from NZTA.

These carriages, estimated to be $981,000 per year will be funded at 75.5 per cent of the costs involved by the Agency using a targeted enhanced financial assistance rate.

The Waikato Regional Council's support for the project was subject to NZTA funding these costs at this rate. If comes after concerns were raised in February that NZTA would only fund the carriage maintenance at 51 per cent leading to speculation that the Council should withdrawal its support for the project.

NZTA's board confirmed the funding at its March meeting.

The Council's Transport Committee chairman Cr Hugh Vercoe said the funding was subject to sign-off approval from NZTA's chief executive.

"NZTA's board have said yes, they will pay the increase financial assistance rate. The chief executive will sign it off in the normal way."

That sign-off will take place once the carriages start to require maintenance once the service is up and running.

Confirmation that the funding would be at 75.5 per cent was a relief, Vercoe said.

"It's welcome news that the business case that we presented with all of the financials has been accepted by the NZTA board. I never had any doubts."

- Article by Stuff


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