Call for views on transport solutions
The public faces a stark financial choice about how to fund new transport projects in Auckland.
A group of business and community leaders, convened by mayor Len Brown to give its view on financing projects to solve the city’s transport crisis, is calling for feedback on two funding options.
Higher rates, fuel taxes and a regional fuel tax are one option proposed by the Consensus Building Group.
The other is implementing road pricing, which could involve charging to use the motorway.
Group chairman Stewart Milne says Auckland faces a $12 billion transport funding shortfall by 2041 if nothing is done.
‘‘Unless there is certainty, we are just going to continue talking about things,’’ he says.
Projects like multi-storey park and ride car parks could be possible if there is enough funding.
‘‘We’re trying to do things on the cheap in New Zealand and we pay for it.’’
He acknowledges both proposals are controversial and will need political support from the Auckland Council and the Government.
A regional fuel tax and motorway charges have already been rejected by Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee.
But Employers and Manufacturers Association chief executive Kim Campbell says the city will suffer if nothing happens.
‘‘Finally when the place comes to a grinding halt, that’s when people leave. We don’t think that’s a responsible view.’’
And the AA’s Simon Lambourne says all parties involved need to engage with the process before progress can be made.
‘‘Everyone is going to have to pay a little bit more.’’
Mr Brown says Auckland faces a major challenge over the next decade.
‘‘Our population is projected to grow by as much as 1 million, with around 60 per cent of that coming from our existing populace.
‘‘The Consensus Building Group was set up to provide us with the best possible independent advice on how we can respond to this challenge.
‘‘Their report is an important next step in the discussion about how to fund improvements to Auckland’s transport infrastructure.’’
But five councillors, Dick Quax Sharon Stewart, Cameron Brewer, George Wood and Calum Penrose, say the announcement is just a distraction from the debate going on around the Unitary Plan.
The public is being asked to submit feedback on the group’s proposals before it makes its recommendations to Auckland Council in July.