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Regional fuel tax is an option for ECan

July 4, 2008

Regional fuel tax is an option for ECan

Following the approval of legislation in Parliament yesterday, Environment Canterbury (ECan) says that a regional fuel tax is one option available for raising the additional funding necessary to achieve the outcomes of the Canterbury Transport Regional Implementation Plan (TRIP), but there are no plans to introduce the charge in Canterbury immediately.

Canterbury prepared a TRIP of $1,190 million (in 2007 dollars), which included essential projects costing $410 million more than normal funding arrangements would provide. Central Government generously agreed to fund half the difference ($205 million) but Canterbury needs to raise the other half as a regional contribution.

Chairman Sir Kerry Burke says councils in Canterbury have agreed to incorporate $60 million towards the shortfall within their Long-Term Community Council Plans (LTCCP). The fuel tax is one option through which the additional $145 million could be raised and ECan will be consulting with its territorial colleagues to see if a regional consensus can be reached.

"It is still business as usual for the Canterbury region despite Parliament passing the legislation on 3 July. The earliest possible date for a new fuel tax in the Canterbury region is 1 July 2009 and the maximum that the levy can be set at to start with is 2 cents per litre", said Sir Kerry.

"It would be very helpful if agreement can be reached between the region's councils on the best method of funding for the additional road and transport projects over the long term. We agreed on the list of projects and now we have to see if we can agree on the funding mechanism(s), which include a possible regional fuel tax. This is not a decision that will happen immediately or unilaterally, but it is important to recognise that the fuel tax is on the discussion table".

Sir Kerry said that the $205 million contribution from the Government was "a fantastic gift to transport in Canterbury which the region now had to match dollar for dollar".

"Now the legislation has been passed, the fuel tax option is available for ECan to discuss with the city and district councils in Canterbury to determine the best way forward".


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