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Benefit from petrol tax spent on public transport

Motorists benefit when petrol tax is spent on public transport

Any attempt to use a regional petrol tax to fund yet more state highways would further unbalance Auckland's transport infrastructure, Green Party Co-Leader Jeannette Fitzsimons says.

"Under this Government we have seen a road building binge like never before. Even Michael Cullen claims it is the largest road spend NZ has ever seen," Ms Fitzsimons says.

"To add to this by making Aucklanders pay a regional petrol tax for yet more roading, flies in the face of what Aucklanders say they want.

"Last year the Green Party commissioned a survey asking Aucklanders how they would have preferred the extra $1.5 billion in last year's Budget to be spent. A whopping 75 percent majority said at least half should be spent on public transport, while nearly 40 percent wanted all or most spent on improving public transport. This showed that Aucklanders did not support that $1.5 billion all going into roads as it did.

"This Government is currently spending $1.63 billion each year on roads. That's on top of what local government spends on local roads.

"Public transport has lagged further and further behind for many years. Putting the whole of the petrol tax into public transport, starting with rail electrification, would start to redress the balance of funding.

"It would also free up road congestion far faster than road building could. It would begin to prepare for the much higher oil prices that will occur as oil supplies peak and begin to decline - and it would give Aucklanders what they say they want.

"Motorists are big winners when better public transport takes more cars off the road. Currently, there are 5 million annual boardings on public transport in Auckland. If rail electrification improved the passenger rail service, the ARTA rail business estimate is for 16 million annual boardings by 2016. Clearly, this would have a dramatic effect on road congestion in Auckland," Ms Fitzsimons says. For more information:

ENDS

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