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Pay Up or Lose it - Transit’s Tolling Blackmail

EMBARGO NOON Thursday 12 October 2006

Pay Up or Lose it - Transit’s Tolling Blackmail

Press Release: Dr Cathy Casey, Auckland City Councillor

An Auckland City Councillor today hit back at Transit NZ’s tolling solution for the funding of SH20 and is calling on Auckland citizens to totally reject paying twice for roads.

Councillor Cathy Casey says Transit’s ‘pay up of lose it’ position is blackmail because it does not offer the people of Auckland a choice:
“Transit is telling us, the people of Auckland that if we want the Western ring road by 2015, we are going to have to pay a toll for it. And if we don’t pay for it, basically it will go on their back burner and we won’t get it for another 30 years!”

She says that when Transit send out their 470,000 leaflets this week asking people that they think the people of Auckland should leave them in no doubt

“Aucklanders should oppose tolling every step of the way. Tell Transit we do not want to spend $14 every time we drive between Manukau and Albany. We don’t want fast roads for the rich and slow roads for the poor. It is the government that should be funding roads, not the people of Auckland – they have already paid their taxes.”

Dr Cathy Casey, while new to Auckland City Council, served three terms in South Wairarapa. She said that one of the largest turnouts in the town of Featherston was a meeting to oppose a suggestion by Transit New Zealand to toll the Rimutaka Hill Road.

“Over 500 people turned up to tell Transit they would face mass protest if they dared to toll the Hill Road. The issue of tolling was not raised again.”
Dr Casey says that “user pays” is unfair and penalises people on low incomes.

“There are many low-paid workers who drive across this city every day from outlying districts where they are forced to live because of escalating house prices. They already have to pay increased petrol and parking fees. Paying a toll on top of that is just not an option.”

Councillor Casey says citizens should contact their Mayor and city councillors and tell them to take a strong stand against Transit’s introduction of tolling
“Councils should be demanding that the Labour Government fully fund Auckland’s roading network from its record surplus.”

ENDS

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