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Concern over Auckland motorway toll proposal

Media Release
12 October 2006

Concern over Auckland motorway toll proposal

Manukau Mayor Sir Barry Curtis says the proposal by Transit NZ to toll the Western Ring Route in Auckland is good in principle but has a serious weakness in its current form, as it may to lead to increased congestion on some local roads. He is concerned such roads may be used as “rat runs”.

Sir Barry says completing the region’s motorway network, including finishing the Ring Route as fast as possible, is essential and tolls could be one way of raising the money needed.

“We are just getting to grips with the detail of the Transit plan announced today but I believe it could lead to many drivers using local roads instead of the motorway, in order to avoid a toll. If that happens, the result would be appalling congestion which would defeat the purpose of building the Ring Route.

“The roads around Manukau City Centre could be hard hit in particular because Transit’s plan calls for toll stations where the southern motorway and the future state highway 20 extension meet at the City Centre. I can well imagine many motorists balking at paying the toll, and using a free alternative road instead.

“I welcome the public consultation process announced by Transit and hope it produces a positive result. I believe it may conclude that a regional petrol tax is a better alternative to tolls. A regional tax is fairer because everyone contributes and it would not produce any congestion as no one can avoid paying.

“However I am pleased that Transit’s proposal does not include tolling the Mangere Bridge or the Greenhithe Bridge, as they are used as local roads by people living nearby. Local journeys should not be tolled and should remain free of charge.”


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