Minister says Auckland road charges 'ridiculous'
Thu, 19 Jul 2012 6:05p.m.
By Tom McRae
The Transport Minister says it's ridiculous for Auckland Council to try and go ahead with plans to charge motorists to use the city’s roads.
The council is looking at options to fund a $10 billion to $15 billion shortfall for major transport projects. However the Government has to sign off on a number of them and is already saying no.
No one doubts Auckland is in a jam and the council has a plan to unclog it. But what it needs now is a plan to pay the bill.
“We know we don't have enough taxes and rates to deal with it so for Aucklanders, it's about confronting the challenge and dealing with it,” Auckland Mayor Len Brown says.
The council voted today to investigate bringing in road tolls, a regional fuel tax as well as congestion and network charges.
But Minister of Transport Gerry Brownlee is not keen on road charges.
“The roads by and large are going to be owned by the taxpayer,” he says. “If you have the Auckland Council saying, ‘You let us use your roads to put a charge on them to pay for our little bit of it,' it seems some what ridiculous.”
Auckland councillor Cathey Casey agrees with Mr Brownlee.
“It’s is not a good idea, it is only to gather revenue, it taxes the poor that come into our city everyday… So we shouldn't be continuing on, nobody wants it, let’s strike it off now.”
There's a $10 to $15 billion dollar shortfall to pay for major projects like the central rail line and a second harbour crossing.
“It's not a permissible thing for local authorities to add an excise charge on fuel they have to negotiate that and have an agreement with the Government and we don't agree.”
But Mr Brown says it is necessary.
“My reputation's on the line every day and Auckland’s reputation is on the line. One-and-a-half million of us stuck in traffic, congested roads, a public transport system that's half finished and we're trying to finish.”
The council is spending $1.1 million on investigating the best funding options. A committee will report back in 12 months, although if the Government is already ruling out several options, you have to wonder why they're bothering.
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29/07/2012 6:21:50 p.m.
I agree with the goverment trying to VETO the bill to put tolls on auckland motorways. I don't think you are allowed to put tolls on existing roads. Only new roads to pay for itself. If Len Brown thinks this will encourage people to use the public transport he's in for a big shock. What public transport???. I guess he's dreaming in Planet Labour.
20/07/2012 11:16:38 a.m.
In the matter of Auckland traffic congestion, how to fix it, and over what time-frame… I believe Auckland’s mayor is on a massive ego trip—wanting to be seen as the man who fixed Auckland traffic. I also seems that the Auckland mayor was almost certainly deprived of a train set as a child, and now craves a large one to fill his sense of entitlement and need—to have one at any cost. Furthermore, his train set will miss a huge percentage of Auckland, like in Howick, Pakuranga and Buckland’ Beach, whose ratepayers will pay through the nose for the privilege of someone else using the mayors train set. The mayor’s socialistic ideologies seem to have zero regard for the people he wishes to bleed to the maximum degree to fund them. Our rates are already so obscene we are literally bleeding trying to afford to live in our own homes, but this is of no concern to the mayor on his less than ordinary salary. Clearly he doesn’t live in the real world, or the same world that most Auckland rate-payers live in, who in the current economic times struggle to afford groceries, let alone 70 billion dollar public transport ego trips.
20/07/2012 10:00:25 a.m.
who said: Aucklanders wants and need more Roads.........
20/07/2012 9:00:54 a.m.
I agree with Wiseacre, the costs spread across everyone would be minimal anyway. Suddenly Brownlee cares about those who are low income or in poverty, yeah right!
20/07/2012 7:45:40 a.m.
The National Government constantly refuse to help Auckland with funding for their long overdue transport plans, but then persistently stand in the way of Auckland attempting to fund it themselves. Along with their moves to restrict the activities of local councils, this is all part of the continuing effort by the neoliberal ideologues to fleece the public of their wealth by forcing local councils to sell their assets off to the elite one-percenters they really represent.
20/07/2012 2:49:44 a.m.
Kevin M wrote:
If you want to cutt the users on the roads by half then split the entire supercity in half with a delay or advance in time zone of start/finish time.
20/07/2012 12:09:04 a.m.
Central Government will change and until the Auckland right wake up, Len and his team will rule.
19/07/2012 10:33:36 p.m.
Actually, as an Aucklander, I agree with the government. Nobody wants these trains and the council isn't listening.
19/07/2012 7:29:34 p.m.
what's the true Aucklanders' opinion? How could those politicians always mislead our true opinion for their selfish personal interest?
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