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Don’t Misuse Toll Roads

MEDIA RELEASE

Wednesday 7 May 2003

Don’t Misuse Toll Roads

There’s a major risk that private-public roading partnerships and toll roads could be used as an opportunity by local or central government to divert more of the existing road-user provided funding to non-roading projects, Road Transport Forum CEO Tony Friedlander warned today.

“But anyone who thinks that toll roads can be used to get road users to service borrowing on major projects to allow more of the money already provided by road users to be used on social and environmental projects, risks starting a political fight which could destroy them,” Mr Friedlander told the Public and Private Partnership Forum in Auckland.

“Road users urgently need an improved state highway system and are willing and able to meet the entire cost of putting it in place. Before that can happen however strong safeguards are essential to ensure road users are not exploited,” Mr Friedlander says.

“There is already widespread annoyance at the amount of petrol tax money which is not being spent on improving roads. That would turn to nationwide anger if road tolls were introduced as a device to allow more road-user funds to be diverted to non-roading expenditure by Transfund.

“A substantially improved state highway system can be built over the next 10 years, funded entirely by road users, in a range of sensible ways. This includes PPPs, but specific legislative safeguards are needed at the outset to give road users confidence in the whole road funding system.”

ENDS

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