Monday, 15th July, 2013

The Auckland Business Forum supports the principal finding reached by the Consensus Building Group (CBG) that some form of road pricing will be required by 2021, if, as seems likely, Aucklanders are not prepared to accept significantly higher rate increases and heavier congestion, says chairman Michael Barnett.

With consensus achieved by a very diverse group of Aucklanders on a roadmap for how Auckland can pay for its share of transport infrastructure, the focus now needs to turn to action and delivery, he said.

To help address the $12 billion funding gap in Auckland’s $45 billion transport investment programme over the next 30 years, the CBG outlined two packages of funding tools. One proposes that by 2021 road pricing is introduced to supplement income from rate increases, increased fuel taxes and increased fare revenue from public transport.

Road pricing can take various forms, but the options suggested by the CBG embraces network or cordon tolls. “The support is in principle, and the devil will be in the details of any scheme that is developed. As other cities have done, it is time for Aucklanders to be prepared for tolls,” said Mr Barnett

He agreed that Prime Minister John Key’s recent speech committing to accelerate and partly fund Auckland’s major transport projects changes the landscape and opens the door for discussions between Auckland Council and the Government on timing and achieving funding certainty.

“This could help soften the impact on Auckland’s share of costs of the $3 billion of the $12 billion funding gap that the Group agreed falls in the first decade to 2020. However, based on current policies there will still be a substantial gap on the Council’s side of the funding requirement,” noted Mr Barnett.

“The CBG called for a decision by 2015 at the latest on how and when the funding gap will be filled and represents a minimum position of the Auckland Business Forum. We support moving faster.

“As emphasised by the Government’s announcement to accelerate some projects, Auckland needs action to advance the major unfunded roading and public transport projects as soon as possible, certainly well before 2015,” he concluded.

 

For more information contact Michael Barnett, mobile: 0275 631 150 or mbarnett@chamber.co.nz
Michael Barnett, Chief Executive, Auckland Chamber of Commerce.

* The Auckland Business Forum: Members include Auckland Chambers of Commerce, Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern), Ports of Auckland, Auckland Airport, Civil Contractors NZ, Infrastructure NZ, National Road Carriers. These organizations represent a cross-section of Auckland industry and commerce whose role includes guardianship of businesses responsible for more than 450,000 Auckland jobs and generating 42% of New Zealand’s gross domestic product (GDP).