‘Direct charging’ – already in place for freight sector
15 July 2013
Embargoed to 3pm
CBG’s ‘direct charging for road use’ proposal – already in place for the freight sector
The freight sector is not opposed to road pricing as an element of a package to address Auckland’s transport infrastructure funding shortfall, says National Road Carrier chief executive David Aitken.
However, he points out that the freight sector already pays its share through Road User Charges (RUC).
He was commenting on the Consensus Building Group (CBG) report finding that if Aucklanders are not prepared to accept significantly higher rate increases and heavier congestion, some form of road pricing will be required by 2021 to supplement income from rate increases, increased fuel taxes and increased fare revenue from public transport.
“While we are not opposed to paying our fair share of the funding shortfall to meet much needed transport infrastructure, the CBG’s recommendations are obviously high-level and in-principle. A comprehensive assessment and modelling of the potential impacts of any specific road pricing scheme put forward will be required.
“The value for money and fairness of any proposed scheme will need to be tested in terms of its impact on the freight sector. As we have pointed out previously, we are opposed to revenue generated from road pricing, fuel tax, and RUC being used for purposes other than roading.”
Mr Aitken also suggested that the CBG’s 2015 timeline for a decision on how and when Auckland’s $12 billion funding gap will be filled will need to be reassessed against the recent announcement by Prime Minister John Key that the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) has been asked to provide advice as soon as possible on which elements of the AMETI and East-West Link can be accelerated with additional funding, and how that funding can be targeted. “We should now be able to move much faster to address the funding shortfall.”
The Neilson Street area congestion is at the heart of freight sector concerns, as the Prime Minister noted. If the funds were secured, this section of the project could be well on the way to a solution by 2015.
“Freight moves the Auckland economy – literally. The road network linking the freight distribution companies located around Neilson St with the rest of Auckland, especially the sea and airports and the MetroPort rail head are critical to the efficient functioning of Auckland’s day-to-day economy, and the productivity of businesses.” It is logical that this project be next in line for Auckland’s and Government’s joint attention, concluded Mr Aitken.