Govt responds to Auckland transport report

  • Simon Bridges

Auckland Council are welcome to have a debate about future transport infrastructure investment plans, but the Government remains sceptical about the options being presented, Transport Minister Simon Bridges said today in response to the release of ‘Funding Auckland’s Transport Future’, a report commissioned by the Auckland Council.

“We agree that Auckland must have a transport system that meets the demands of its growing population and we are committed to working with the Auckland Council to help make sure Auckland succeeds. 

“This is why the National-led Government is spending more than ever before to help build the city’s transport network; around a billion dollars a year. These include very large projects like the Waterview Connection, the widening of the North Western Motorway, the electrification of commuter rail, and the acceleration of motorway projects on the Northern and Southern Corridors.

“These projects will make a big difference to congestion in Auckland.

“But we remain very sceptical about the options being presented today to Aucklanders and whether the programme proposed will further alleviate congestion,” Mr Bridges says.

“Aucklanders would need a very clear sense of what results they are getting and whether the new projects would deliver tangible value for money for commuters.  They also need to have the discussion about how much more Aucklanders are prepared to pay for their transport.”

‘Funding Auckland’s Transport Future’ describes two potential future transport networks for Auckland; a ‘basic transport network’ and an ‘Auckland Plan transport network’.  It put forward two options to raise an additional $300 million per year that would be needed to deliver the second of these – annual increases in rates and fuel taxes or charges for vehicles using the motorway network.

“Rates issues are a matter for the Auckland Council.  In terms of a regional fuel tax or an increase in national fuel tax, the Government is not supportive of new taxes or raising the national tax for the benefit of one region.

“We are also not at all convinced by the motorway charge, and we have been clear that it’s not our preferred policy.  It is important to note the Auckland Motorway system has been built by taxpayers, and any revenue raised from it would firstly belong to taxpayers. 

“However the Mayor is, of course, welcome to have a discussion with Aucklanders on the overall level of transport investment Auckland, on the mix and timing of additional projects, and the possible methods of paying for those projects,” Mr Bridges says.