Monday, 11th October, 2021
On the back of strong endorsement of congestion pricing by Parliament’s Transport and Infrastructure Select Committee in August, the stage is now set for Auckland Council and the Government to take concrete steps towards an Auckland congestion charging scheme.
With Auckland businesses and households facing alarming increases in congestion in the years ahead, we can’t afford to keep kicking the can down the road on congestion pricing.
Of all the transport interventions on the table, no single option would do more to improve network performance than congestion pricing, and the beauty of it is that it can be delivered relatively quickly and affordably.
The Select Committee’s stance points to strong support across the political spectrum, and a growing sense of inevitability around the issue. Auckland Council and the Government must capitalise on this momentum, and on the brief lull in traffic growth due to Covid-19, to start laying the foundations.
In doing so, they need to:
- Awaken the public to the benefits, not just the costs, of congestion pricing, by telling a clear and compelling story about travel time savings and the infrastructure investment that revenue from a congestion pricing scheme would enable
- Show that congestion pricing is about lifting the overall performance of the network – not just about getting cars off the road
- Come up with a way to mitigate the impact on lower-income working Aucklanders that won’t result in a multitude of discounts and exemptions (which will dilute any scheme’s effectiveness)
- Keep sight of the fact that congestion pricing alone won’t solve Auckland’s transport issues – large-scale infrastructure investment will still be required