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Road tolls are 'highway robbery'

Road tolls are 'highway robbery'

The Regional Land Transport Committee, made up of representatives of Territorial Local Authorities and other affected parties, has the responsibility for determining the Auckland Region's Land Transport Strategy.

The Auckland Mayoral Forum does not have a mandate or any legitimate authority to make decisions on roading and transport for Auckland.

City mayors Hubbard, Harvey and Curtis have taken it upon themselves to promote road tolls on Aucklanders to central government. They do not have even their own councils' backing nor the backing of the vast majority of Aucklanders. The mayors' actions are undemocratic, and will penalise most heavily the majority of low-to-modest income people.

We need a careful examination of the root cause of Auckland's traffic problems to fully understand the issues before commercialising our public roads into yet another tax gathering mechanism.

Tolls are a regressive tax that negatively impact on those who can least afford it. Workers, students and elderly people in Auckland travel long distances to work, education, healthcare and social activities. Tolls will add to their burden. Only those owning or managing businesses will be able to have their tolls paid for by their firms or the government and/or get tax write-offs on the tolls.

Road tolls are highway robbery. They steal income from the majority of society, and at the same time, they steal public ownership away from what will become market-driven highways. That's reactionary politics.

We need a progressive strategy to end gridlock in Auckland. RAM is advocating a major shift of government funds from roads to public transport. RAM wants a large-scale free buses trial to test the practical viability of removing all barriers to getting people out of cars.

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