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Chamber Welcomes National’s Promise To Look At Congestion Charging

Wellington Chamber of Commerce welcomes the National Party’s statement today that they will not rule out introducing congestion charging to pay for the Let’s Get Wellington Moving projects if they form the Government after the election.

National’s Transport spokesman Chris Bishop made the statement at Wellington Chamber Beehive to Business event.

"This is what Wellingtonians need to hear - that every avenue for moving these projects ahead and funding them will be explored," says Chief Executive John Milford.

"These are big-ticket items that cannot be paid for by ratepayers through even higher rates.

"I’m baffled by the Government’s opposition to this as a mechanism to give us the transport solutions that are so vital for the city’s and the region’s continuing economic growth.

"Both the Wellington and Auckland mayors want it because it raises money without increasing rates or cutting other vital spending and will likely push more people towards the mass transit systems that will follow, but the Government can’t explain why they can’t use it.

"Let’s Get Wellington Moving has been costed but not funded, which is why congesting pricing must be in the mix of solutions.

"We also welcome Chris Bishop’s commitment to developing a comprehensive transport plan for Wellington, including re-working Let’s Get Wellington Moving and a re-look at the funding model, which currently stands at a 60-40 government-council mix.

"On the current plan the council’s share would be $1.3 billion, and it cannot pay for that by rates alone.

"This is encouraging from National but they should know the Chamber will hold them to account on the detail and the delivery.

"In the meantime, city councillors need to make up their mind on just how this infrastructure is going to be paid for.

"The meeting last week to remove from the council’s submission on the Resource Management Act a paragraph on congestion charging was nothing short of a joke and I wonder how seriously they are taking this issue.

"The city needs the tools to raise the funds to actually get Wellington moving, and that sort of carry-on does not help."

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