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Wellington’s “congestion issues” detracts from real problems

Media Release

14 September 2015 Wellington’s “congestion issues” detracts from real problems

Property Council believes calls to implement a congestion or road toll charges for Wellington’s CBD are a knee-jerk reaction.

According to reports, Wellington Regional Council has teamed up with Auckland Council to push for law changes that would see councils be able to implement user-pay charges.

The Council calculates that by 2031 there would be 11,500 more cars coming into Wellington.

Wellington Branch president Mike Cole says slowing down traffic flow into the centre of a city of only 191,000 and a region of 471,000 people is ridiculous.

“They are talking about methods used in central London; a city of 8.6 million people. London could use the drop in traffic-flow, while we are desperate to get our city centre thriving by getting more people in.

“I think the Council is totally oblivious to the catastrophic effect this would have on retail and employment. Why would we drive people away, when we are working so hard to get them in?”

Wellington Branch strongly believes road pricing should only occur following a mandate from the public, with clear forecasts on the costs to run the system and the expected revenue generated. The revenue that comes from user-pays charges must be ring-fenced and pay for transport projects only.

“If road pricing takes place, it must have transparency and clarity. Wellington needs the right funding levers to make robust and objective decisions on transport projects that are future proofed. This also means not treating Wellingtonians as cash cows.

“That is why we thought the Government was short-sighted when it removed the ability of councils to initiate a regional fuel tax, which could have been a much fairer and equitable way of dealing with “congestion” and collecting revenue.

“Also, let’s not forget that larger cities like London, where they can afford to apply road pricing have the transport infrastructure in place to provide people with alternatives.

“At a time where we are trying to invite more people into Wellington and attract investment and boost its desirability and liveability; road pricing acts as a severe dampener.”

END.


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