Auck­land road tolls years away

Central Leader - - YOUR PAPER, YOUR PLACE - STAFF RE­PORTER

Pric­ing op­tions are be­ing con­sid­ered for a pos­si­ble con­ges­tion charge for Auck­land driv­ers.

How­ever, a fi­nal de­ci­sion on how much con­ges­tion charges could be is years away.

Trans­port Min­is­ter Si­mon Bridges, Fi­nance Min­is­ter Steven Joyce and the Mayor’s of­fice an­nounced on Wed­nes­day the Gov­ern­ment and Auck­land Coun­cil were ex­plor­ing ’’smarter trans­port pric­ing’’.

The move fol­lows in­ves­ti­ga­tions made last year by the agen­cies into re­duc­ing Auck­land’s traf­fic woes, tabling a high­way toll as a pos­si­ble so­lu­tion.

On Wed­nes­day, Bridges said pric­ing could in­volve vary­ing what road users paid at dif­fer­ent times and lo­ca­tions to en­cour­age driv­ers to change the time, route or way they trav­elled.

‘‘It is es­sen­tial that we care­fully con­sider the im­pacts of pric­ing on house­holds and busi­nesses,’’ he said.

‘‘A key fac­tor will be the ac­cess peo­ple have to pub­lic trans­port and other al­ter­na­tives.

Pric­ing would be pri­mar­ily used to re­place ex­ist­ing road taxes that mo­torists pay, he said.

‘‘This is about eas­ing con­ges­tion, not rais­ing more rev­enue.’’

Of­fi­cials will spend the rest of the year as­sess­ing dif­fer­ent pric­ing op­tions for the scheme, dubbed the Smarter Trans­port Pric­ing Pro­ject. A de­ci­sion on fig­ures was still years away.

CHRIS SKEL­TON/FAIRFAX NZ

The Gov­ern­ment and Auck­land Coun­cil are in­ves­ti­gat­ing pric­ing op­tions for Auck­land driv­ers.

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