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Don’t let Auckland stall while congestion charging explored

7 JUNE 2017

Don’t let Auckland stall while congestion charging explored

Transport officials are making important strides in exploring congestion charging in Auckland, but they can’t lose sight of the city’s more immediate transport issues, says the AA.

The Government and Auckland Council today announced that terms of reference have been agreed for a “smarter pricing” project in Auckland. The project will thoroughly investigate road pricing for demand management (congestion charging), to inform an eventual decision about whether or not to proceed with it in Auckland.

AA Principal Advisor – Infrastructure Barney Irvine says it’s good to see the officials keep up the momentum around congestion charging.

“We all agree that congestion charging is something we have to look at,” he says. “It’s now up to the Government and Council to show how it would work in Auckland, and whether it would make sense when you weigh up the costs and benefits – and the sooner they can do this, the better.”

But congestion charging would be a solution for the long term. Right now, there are big questions around our ability to cope with near-term congestion, and how to fund the projects Auckland needs.

“We’ve all felt the rising congestion tide in Auckland, and the scary thing is that it’s going to keep rising for the next four or five years at least,” says Mr Irvine. “We’re worried that traffic conditions will become unbearable before congestion charging or any other big-ticket solution is introduced.”

The Government and Council need to provide more clarity on what road users are going to be facing in terms of travel-time delays, to reassure Aucklanders that the investment that’s planned is going to be enough.

“If the current programme’s not up to the task, they need to show what projects can be brought forward or added to the list.”

Mr Irvine says this has to go hand-in-hand with clearing up the uncertainty around Auckland’s funding gap.

“It’s time for local and central government to stop bickering and work out exactly how much more Auckland is going to have to pay,” says Mr Irvine. “Aucklanders deserve more clarity – without it, we’ll struggle to move the debate forward.”


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