$1m research for transport projects
Auckland Council has today agreed to spend $1.1 million investigating how user-pays road tolls can help the Government raise an outstanding $10-$15 billion needed to meet the city's future transport needs.
The council today voted 13 votes to four in favour of developing a proposal advocating fuel taxes, congestion and network charges and additional car parking fees help pay for the city's major transport projects.
The user-fees charges would 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 said the discussion on transport in Auckland's rapidly growing city was "one of the most important discussions we've ever had".
Brown said he desperately wanted Aucklanders to engage in this discussion so that the challenge of meeting the city's needs over the next 30 years can be met.
Councillor Cathy Casey was highly critical of the recommendations.
She said that additional fuel taxes and tolls would hit the most vulnerable and the poorest citizens the hardest.
Representatives from the council and Auckland Transport will now make up a working group who will carry out investigations into the proposals.
The group are due to report back to the council by the end of the year, and are due to release a report on their findings in July 2013.
Brown said earlier this week that a plan would be presented to the Government in 12 months recommending relevant legislation be changed.