New Zealand’s central government has cancelled the suspended Auckland Light Rail project permanently.

Prime Minister Christopher Luxon said his coalition government struck down the project, which began in practice in 2021, as part of its “100-day plan.” Luxon said the project would be replaced by “transport infrastructure that New Zealand actually needs.”

The line was intended to improve the public transport in New Zealand’s largest city, which currently relies heavily on bus and other road transport.

It would have run 24km (14 miles) from the city centre southbound to the airport, via various residential neighbourhoods.

Plans indicated that much of the central city portion would have been buried before surfacing to run along the Southwestern motorway.

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But Transport Minister Simeon Brown said the NZ$15bn (US$9bn) price tag was likely to rise, at additional cost to the taxpayer.

“After six years and over NZ$228m spent on the project, not a single metre of track has been delivered and congestion has only worsened in the city,” Brown added.

“Scrapping the expensive project is part of the coalition agreements and we have taken swift action. Auckland Light Rail Ltd has been instructed to immediately cease work on the project, and to take the necessary steps to wind up the company,” the minister explained.