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ARC: $30 for every extra trip on public transport

Media statement Thursday, May 24th, 2007

ARC plans $30 subsidy for every extra trip on public transport

The Auckland Regional Council proposal to spend $30 to subsidize each extra trip on public transport next year will come as a severe shock to most ratepayers, the Employers & Manufacturers Association told the council hearings on its draft annual plan today.

"The ARC's draft plan targets an increase of just one million more passenger trips next year compared to 2006/7 but it is budgeting over $30 more to pay for each of them," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"This year the ARC spend on public transport subsidies is $127.973 million and for the 2007/8 year it is $159.465 million though only one million more trips are projected.

"This is the stuff of fairytales, or nightmares.

"Furthermore the ARC plan gives little information about the efficiency or effectiveness of the council's investment in public transport or any other of its activities, and it owns billions of dollars of properties, companies and other non core, public assets.

"EMA is all for investing in effective public transport but we totally object to the waste and lack of accountability inherent in the figures being made publicly available.

"Another flaw in the council's plan is it takes no account of the economic rationale for subisidising passenger fares in off peak times.

"For instance, late night public transport services are subsidised though they deliver no benefits in reducing traffic congestion or otherwise promoting an efficient city.

"Taxing property and using taxpayers' money to subsidise transport at this level offers a big incentive for people and business to disperse to cheaper locations rather than congregate in ways that would assist more efficient transport systems.

"So the ARC plan appears to be at cross purposes with the council's often stated desire for a more efficient and effective transport network.

"EMA has proposed a plan to partner with the ARC to shift people onto public transport at peak times and greatly reduce congestion on the roads."


ENDS

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