Urgent road upgrades will cost Aucklanders
Mon, 16 Jul 2012 6:21p.m.
By Tom McRae
Aucklanders could soon be paying congestion charges, road tolls and more at the pump to fund transport projects for the city.
The council says rates and taxes alone won't pay for big ticket items like a second harbour crossing and the central rail loop.
However the money has to come from somewhere.
Right now thousands of Auckland motorists are in gridlock and few doubt something needs to be done.
“We've got an urgent challenge and we need to meet it,” Auckland Mayor Len Brown says. “It's not going to get any better by just treading water and the same old, same old.”
The inner city rail loop, an east-to-west motorway and a second harbour crossing are among the projects designed to unclog the roads.
But they're going to cost $70 billion and rates and taxes won't cover them all.
So there are five options to fund the $10 billion to $15 billion shortfall:
Some members of the public who spoke to 3 News did not seem too concerned about possible charges.
“In terms of a regional tax if it stays within the region that would be great,” one person said.
“I think we're all going to have to pay a little bit more, but I do realise it's going to be harder for some to pay more than they're already paying,” another said.
But another thought the council needs to rethink.
“They need to go back to the core budgets.”
The mayor says there can be no shortcuts to get what is needed.
“We've gone for the half options. We built a harbour bridge and opened it in 1959 and had to put clip-ons on 10 years later. We should've done double the size harbour option. We've always gone for the cheap option, we're not doing that anymore.”
Currently none of the options are confirmed. An independent transport team will work to find the best funding model.
One thing is certain though - something needs to be done and drivers will pay - but exactly how won't be decided for another 12 months.
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16/07/2012 9:28:23 p.m.
The problem is the demand side. We have one of the fastest rates of population growth in the OECD per capita. This creates unaffordable housing and congested infrastructure. The majority of Auckland's population was born abroad. Why should existing residents have to pay for the tourists/immigrants?
16/07/2012 8:35:29 p.m.
There was a report recently that suggested that if 10% of the people driving cars changed to motorcycles then the traffic jams would reduce by 40%. Those that study how long it takes to get accross the city leave out scooters and at times motorcycles yet these are the most efficient and economical forms of motorised transport.Other than being able to use bus lanes, the council and government has ignored scooters in road planning.Scooters can't use the North Western motorway nor the cycle way next to it and are forced to divert down to New Lynn which vastly lengthens any trip.The council wants to tax us for billions for a mmore motorways and a pointless railway when for millions they could put people on scooters and motorcycles and solve the problem.
16/07/2012 7:21:11 p.m.
There needs to be extra tax on immigrants/tourists to cover the costs of their road usage and having to upgrade roads for the extra traffic caused etc
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