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Transport - Raise Rates Now Or Pay Later

8 May 2000


TRANSPORT– RAISE RATES NOW OR
PAY LATER, IT’S YOUR CHOICE


People for years have associated Aucklanders with upward mobility. But if past trends in transport continue, mobility in any form may become rare in Auckland City.

This is the view of Cr. Catherine Harland, chairperson of council’s Transport & Roading Committee, who says this is why the city has elevated transport to second place among its seven strategic priorities.

To support this priority, the draft Annual Plan proposes that some of the 1.8% rates increase sought by council this year would be applied to a fund to ensure public transport projects can be afforded and implemented in future years.

“In effect, council has suggested a process of setting aside a little each year for major projects. That means when those projects are finalised and have all the requisite approvals and consents, council is in a position to fund them so they actually happen on the ground,” says Cr Harland. “For decades the region has planned but failed to implement due to a lack of determination and, more importantly, a lack of funds. This is a way of financing as we go, so we aren’t caught short in the future.”

Not all the proposed 1.8% rate rise will necessarily be for public transport. Some may fund Council’s contribution to developing an Indoor Arena at Quay Park.

“For this reason it is important that Aucklanders continue to express their views to council about public transport and whether or not they support a ‘saving-up’ approach. One alternative is for council to delay increasing rates now, but to increase them sharply in the year public transport projects are implemented.”

In the city’s recently released draft Annual Plan for 2000/2001, $6 million is earmarked for upgrading of Auckland’s transport infrastructure, including $0.7m as council’s share of work on a regional programme designed to develop rapid transit corridors.

The draft plan indicates $5 million would be spent on projects such as:
 park & ride facilities
 rail station upgrades
 bus priority lanes and signals technology
 city-wide walkways and cycleways

Some of the proposed projects will not happen without additional funding from Infrastructure Auckland.

In addition, options for development of the proposed Queen Street station are being investigated.

In the general operating budget within the draft Annual Plan, $72 million is provided for maintenance on the city’s 1,410 kilometres of roads, two Hauraki Gulf airfields and seven wharves, the city’s street and traffic lights and 5,349 car park spaces.

Auckland City’s cornerstone planning document, its long range strategic plan, was reviewed in 1999. This plan notes some significant statistics:

 population growth projected at up to 10,000 people a year
 the average length of a trip to work increased from 10.8 km to 13.9 km in the ten years to 1996
 the number of cars in the city is expected to double in the next 20 years

“These facts and other data available to us, indicate that we must act now to develop an effective transport system in the future,” Cr. Harland says.

Long range transport strategies include:
 a quality passenger transport network
 making transportation infrastructure -- road, rail and water – more efficient through a number of specific initiatives
 improving links between different kinds of transport
 providing more walkways and cycleways
 working with Transit New Zealand to complete strategic roads
 encouraging a reduction in traffic congestion through use of high occupancy vehicles, flexible school and work hours and a range of other measures; and
 advocacy for affordable and accessible public transport

ENDS

For further information contact:
Cr Catherine Harland, Tel 636 8464

Background note:
Public submissions on Auckland’s draft Annual Plan opened on 17 April with delivery of the plan to all Auckland households, and close on 23 May. Copies of the plan and the city’s strategic plan are available by telephoning 379 2037.


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