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ARC councillors face both ways on fuel taxes

ARC councillors face both ways on fuel taxes

"RAM calls on ARC councillors Michael Barnett and Judith Bassett to explain their contradictory positions on transport funding," said Elaine West of RAM Residents Action Movement.

"At an ARC committee meeting in August 2004, councillors Barnett and Bassett voted AGAINST the ARC calling on the government to phase out fuel taxes going into the consolidated fund, rather than being earmarked for transport projects."

"Just a month later, councillors Barnett and Bassett declared their support FOR '100 percent use of fuel taxes for road projects' in a widely-published business survey on the eve of local body elections."

"Why have these two ARC councillors said one thing in a public survey after voting for the exact opposite within an ARC committee?" asked Ms West. "The Auckland public have a right to know why their elected representatives appear to be facing both ways on this important issue."

"Do councillors Barnett and Bassett know that ARC policy, as stated in the Regional Land Transport Strategy, clearly states that ARC councillors request central government to remove petrol excise tax from the consolidated fund and instead put such taxes into the 'maintenance and upgrading of regional transport infrastructure'?" asked Ms West.

"Are councillors Barnett and Bassett aware that a large majority of Alpurt B2 submitters requested Transit NZ to use all petrol taxes to pay for urgent reconstruction of State Highway 1 from Orewa to Puhoi? If this was done, tolls wouldn't need to be levied."

"If councillors Barnett and Bassett had voted in support of all petrol taxes being put into transport infrastructure, as they should have done to be consistent with official ARC policy, then they would have swung the majority of the ARC in favour of Alpurt B2 being constructed as a non-tolled road," noted Ms West.

"I believe that these two councillors have acted contrary to the public interest," said Ms West.

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