Motorists to pay for city transport projects
Taxes and charges could bankroll projects
Auckland Council is to present a proposal to the Government advocating fuel taxes, congestion and network charges and additional car parking fees to help pay for the city's major transport projects.
The user-pays charges will be considered by the council on Thursday to help fund a second harbour crossing, a $2.8 billion city rail link, major works to quicken road trips to Whangaparoa, rail links to the airport and an east-west link.
Mayor Len Brown today signalled it will do further work around the three funding options and present a plan to the Government in 12 months recommending relevant legislation be changed.
A working group consisting of council, Government, community organisations, business and transport groups will work on the proposal.
"If and when these projects proceed, Auckland will be required to fund part of the cost alongside Government contributions," he said.
"Auckland Council is considering a number of funding options which can be used instead of loading all the burden on to Aucklanders' rates bill.
"While the proposal does not rule out other funding mechanisms such as tolls or fare charges, it does identify three options that need additional work, as a result of public feedback.
"I remain open-minded to a number of funding options. What is certain, however, is that council must consider new ways to fund these major transport projects in a way which is affordable and fair for Aucklanders."
The council faces a $10-15 billon funding shortfall to meet the city's future transport needs.
"Auckland's congestion will significantly worsen as the region's population continues to surge. Auckland and the Government need to invest in a mix of road and rail projects to provide the region with a transport system which will cope with a population of two million plus," Brown said.
Aucklanders will get a say on the plan before any final decisions are made.
The report follows a discussion document released earlier this year entitled "Getting Auckland Moving". Eighty-five per cent of submitters felt additional funding was needed to pay for the city's transport needs.
The five most popular options were tolling on new roads, regional fuel taxes, congestion charging, development contributions and additional car parking charges.
As tolling of new roads and development contributions are permissible under existing legislation, it was felt they did not require the same level of investigation, Brown said.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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