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No proposal for congestion charging in Wellington

No proposal for congestion charging in Wellington

Greater Wellington Regional Council has absolutely no proposal for congestion charging, Chair Fran Wilde said today.

Commenting on a story in this morning’s Dominion Post, Fran Wilde said the story had caused unnecessary anxiety amongst people because it implied that there was a specific policy about to be implemented.

“This is simply not true,” she said. “The facts are:

  • There is no legal provision for a congestion charge of any sort in New Zealand.

  • The success of a congestion charge depends on the quality of the public transport system and any policy would need to be long term, taking into account the present challenges we have in this area.

  • A decision on congestion charging, if and when it becomes legal, would impact heavily on Wellington City and the development of a policy package would need to take this into consideration.

“A congestion charge for Wellington would not be a serious option until the capacity of our public transport system, in particular rail, was substantially increased. Greater Wellington is absolutely committed to making that happen but it is still some years off.”

Fran Wilde said she believed there needed to be public discussion of road pricing mechanisms.

“If the law is changed then clearly such a discussion would be more meaningful. People need to bear in mind that, apart from public transport itself, an integrated package would include requirements such as a radically increased park and ride capacity. There would also need to be a clear understanding of road pricing impacts on Wellington City”, she said.

Ms Wilde pointed out that the Regional Land Transport Strategy, which was adopted last year by the Regional Land Transport Committee (all the local council Mayors, plus some Greater Wellington Councillors and other representatives), states that the region should continue to advocate that local government rather than central government should have the power to apply road pricing mechanisms. Greater Wellington’s submission to the Select Committee considering current changes to land transport had, amongst other things, requested that the law be changed to allow this.

ENDS

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