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Auckland Road Users Short Changed

Thursday, February 28th, 2002

The transport package announced this evening does not address Auckland's traffic congestion crisis nearly to the extent that business and Auckland motorists need, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) says.

"The Government transport package short changes Auckland's road users," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"It raises new taxes but doesn't spend enough of the money raised on the crisis priority areas. The crisis is in Auckland.

"For example, the road safety funding of $34 million spending should come from existing taxes, not the new one.

"In addition, Auckland motorists, already denied a fair share of the nations' road building funds, are now seeing a disproportionate slice going into rail and public transport.

"Auckland pays far more in fuel taxes, road user charges and motor vehicle registration than it ever sees invested back in the region's roads, even after Government has taken 60 per cent of the fuel excise into its consolidated fund.

"Of Transfund's $1.24 billion allocation last year, just 15 per cent ($188.5 million) was to be spent on Auckland' roads.

"This sort of financial gerrymander has been going on for over a decade, and now it is being compounded by diverting much of the 4.7 cents/litre extra tax into public transport.

"Public transport is to get an 83.5 per cent increase on its current allocation, or $66 million, while road users who're paying for it, will see 9.5 per cent of the increase, or $94 million more invested in roads.

"Business opposes road users subsidizing rail users, but we fully support the building of new toll roads, in partnership with the private sector.

"Government has pandered to the Green Party, and failed to grasp the urgency of completing Auckland's roading network. That is where the sustainable benefit will be for everyone."

Ends


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