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Transport Bill at odds with Government's strategy

Transport Bill at odds with Government's strategy

The Land Transport Management Bill falls well short of the objectives of Government's own Transport Strategy released last December, the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) told the Select Committee hearing in Auckland today.

The Bill as presented will not achieve its objectives to provide funding from the private sector needed to help complete Auckland's motorway network within 10 years, Bruce Goldsworthy, EMA's Manager for Advocacy, told the Committee.

"Government's strategy stipulates the need for a 'coherent and efficient transport system' whereas the Bill makes no mention at all of the need for the huge investment in roads to be efficient," Mr Goldsworthy said.

"Unless the Bill is substantially amended no roads will be built under its provisions.

“The Bill acknowledges the need for private funding to contribute to Auckland's roading but it won't allow private investors a reasonable rate of return.

"Under the Bill the Minister is to be given the authority to decide if a project can be developed under a private/public partnership, then once a project's plans are drawn up, he can reject it. No sensible investor would contemplate such an arrangement.

"It's also unclear whether the minister in question is the Minister of Transport or some other Minister.

"The Bill denies private investors the opportunity to develop the sort of build, own operate and transfer (BOOT) projects that have been so successful in Australia.

"On the question of added taxation to fund roads, Auckland business wants to see nation wide tax increases on petrol to fund them, not distortionary tax increases applied only to Auckland region's road users.

"Nonetheless a broad and equitable toll on the existing network is supported as is congestion pricing.

"We also have serious concerns about the powers given to local authorities to both own and operate public transport services. Ownership and operations should be kept apart to best serve the public interest."

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