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AA Survey Reinforces Business Call For Creativity

10 December 2003

Media release

AA Survey: Reinforces Business Call For Creative Funding Options To Help Move Network Completion Into Fast Lane

Politicians beware – Aucklanders overwhelmingly want less “name calling” and more focus on increased action to complete the region’s transport networks.

“Politicians in Wellington may need to rethink the way they milk fuel taxes raised in Auckland for uses other than completing transport infrastructure.

“And politicians at the Auckland Regional Council and other local councils have been delivered a strong message that Aucklanders have strong objections to their rates being used to fund public transport improvements.”

Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Chamber of Commerce, was commenting on the findings of a market research survey on Aucklanders’ willingness to pay more money to achieve faster completion of the region’s core transport networks.

“Clearly, the survey reinforces the Chamber’s own surveys that have consistently shown transport and dealing with Auckland’s unpredictable gridlock incidents as the number one concern of business in the region. Aucklanders want the network finished – fast!”

While Aucklanders are prepared to pay more for faster progress, their preference is for new types of measures where the cost is directly related to the benefit, or user pay – tolls and public-private partnerships ahead of higher fuel taxes or rates.

“If ARC politicians haven’t already got the message that a 34% rate increase for funding public transport is unacceptable to most Aucklanders – this survey will help them understand!”

There are also predicable findings that many Aucklanders believe they are already paying for network completion through fuel taxes, and resent a large portion of this money being siphoned off for other uses – “bring it back for transport,” is the understandable call, noted Mr Barnett.

“It’s interesting that this latest survey confirms a growing belief that Aucklanders are getting sick and tired of paying fuel taxes, most of which are siphoned off into the consolidated fund to pay for services other than transport,” said Mr Barnett.

“I also interpret the 89% support for completion of the region’s agreed network not only as confirmation for faster delivery of both the eastern and western corridors, but a collective message for all organisations responsible for delivering transport infrastructure in Auckland - Transit New Zealand in terms of completing the roading network by 2010, ARC in terms of immediate action to provide reliable and regular public transport services, central Government and Auckland’s local councils, said Mr Barnett:

“Get yourselves better organised and committed to completion of the total network as a single, fully funded and integrated project. Stop the name-calling and finger pointing on who is or is not getting on with the job – Aucklanders just want the job done!”

“If we don’t organise ourselves more strategically, Auckland will never catch up to where it should have been as far back as 1990 – the original date network completion was envisaged when first designed in the mid-1960s.”

ENDS

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