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Toll Ring Around Auckland The Best Way

Toll Ring Around Auckland The Best Way To Fund Transport Improvements

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis says creating a toll ring on all major roads around the Auckland isthmus must be part of the package for raising the money needed to pay for the Auckland region’s transport improvements, including the Eastern Corridor.

The ring would include all motorways and arterial routes. The official term for creating toll rings around cities is network pricing (or cordon tolls). Such rings are in place in many cities and countries overseas, including in central London, Norway and Singapore. The Norwegian examples include cities of similar size and population to the Auckland region.

The recent highly-publicised introduction of tolls around central London has led to a 20% reduction in traffic, less congestion and much improved average traffic speed.

Sir Barry says such rings have two functions – to raise funds to pay for future transport improvements and to reduce congestion by persuading commuters into using public transport.

“Network charging basically involves charging every vehicle which penetrates certain parts of the road network. There would be differing charges for use of certain key roads at certain times. It is different from tolling, which usually only applies to one particular road, and is far more effective.

“Fairness and consistency are important. Charges should apply to everyone equally on a user-pays basis. I believer there is no alternative way of funding the completion of the roading network in the region, including linking up the motorways. -2-

“The region has to somehow find $5 billion to fund the many transport improvements required, including better train, bus and ferry services. There is not enough money in government coffers to pay for all these projects, so we have to shoulder the burden ourselves.

“The government has said it will be investigating network tolling as a strategy over the next year, and it is time that we as a region began to plan its introduction.”

A recently-released report into funding options for the Eastern Transport Corridor concluded that tolls alone would not pay for the corridor, no matter what its final make-up.

Sir Barry says, “The pressures the region faces are getting more urgent and we must find new solutions to our growing traffic problems. We will have to look at a combination of things – regional petrol price increases, tolls, debt funding, and PPPs (public private partnerships) as well as improving public transport. But network tolling must be part of the package. “

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