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Chamber Supports ARC "breaking the mould"


Chamber of Commerce Supports ARC “breaking the mould”

18 July 2003

Media release

The Chamber of Commerce strongly supported the Regional Council “breaking the mould” to get action to catch up on the 1990’s decade of public transport infrastructure neglect.

“However, we take strong issue with who is being asked to pay and how,” said Michael Barnett, Chief Executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce and a Regional Councillor.

The Chamber’s submission was one of some 600 submissions which asked the ARC to seriously consider options other than the one detailed in the Regional Council’s annual plan of using ratepayers to fund public transport improvements. These included:

- Making the case to Government for a one-off “fiscal envelope”, possibly from its current surplus;
- Looking at better use of Infrastructure Auckland funding;
- Adopting a uniform charge for transport;
- Using a portfolio approach that involved a mix of borrowing and user pay, and spreading the costs over a number of years.

Instead, Council re-confirmed that the intention to use ratepayers to fund the region’s public transport operations “as each new capital project comes on line” would stand.

Auckland’s rail upgrade is a “catch up” of decades of neglect and the benefits will be enjoyed by future generations, noted Mr Barnett. Surely, a fairer approach would be for Council to have the risks and costs spread across the whole community.

A borrowing programme, for example, would have allowed future generations to share some of the costs in the repayment of loans, and have lessened the impact on present ratepayers.

ENDS

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