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Business leaders back toll roads

Business leaders back toll roads

A survey to gauge the extent of Auckland's business leaders' support for toll roads in the area has, unsurprisingly, found it overwhelming.

The Employers & Manufacturers Association Northern asked Auckland members if they would support tolls on Auckland roads if it meant they would be built faster than otherwise.

"Toll roads for several road construction projects around Auckland are plainly desirable," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"There's a lot of heat on these issues from businesses losing opportunities to grow their businesses and create more jobs. Many of our leaders are saying Auckland's roads are an international disgrace.

"The questions asked if they supported tolls on:

· The Avondale extension linking SH 20 to the North western motorway - 75% support for tolling.

· The Alpurt extension from Orewa to Puhoi - 75% support

· On State Highway One extension to Hamilton - 67% support

· The Eastern corridor - 77% support

"We could add at least 15% more support for the construction of all these road projects if we included those philosophically opposed to tolls but want the roads built from existing or new taxes. Many people are saying roads are a public good and should be paid for through existing fuel taxes.

"Though 90% stated support for the construction of the Eastern Expressway, they were split over backing a basic, or an enhanced version.

"56% of them supported building a basic expressway (two traffic lanes in each direction plus two rapid transit lanes with walk /cycle options) and 46% backed an enhanced expressway (with lower environmental impacts and possible tunneling under Judges Bay) at higher cost.

"Our survey canvassed the views of over 200 chief executives, managing directors and general managers."

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