Charity muggers may be stopping cars and demanding money, but the idea is appealing to cities that want more money. Â Always more money…
Wellington wants to join forces with Auckland in a bid change the Government’s mind on tolling exiting motorways.
The region’s political leaders say it is not practical or affordable to keep building roads to ease rush hour congestion.
Other measures – including motorway tolls, charging motorists to enter a CBD, and raising the price of central city parking – also need to be seriously considered, they say.
On Tuesday, the Regional Transport Committee, which all of greater Wellington’s mayors sit on, will vote on the idea of approaching Auckland Council to discuss a joint approach to the Government on road pricing tools.
Tolling existing roads requires a law change and Auckland Mayor Len Brown has made no secret of his support. His council has proposedÂ a $2 motorway toll or a regional fuel tax and higher rates as solutions to Auckland’s $12 billion transport funding shortfall.
But the Government is “sceptical” about the idea, and has rebuffed Auckland’s advances to date.
The Wellington Regional Land Transport Plan, which the Regional Transport Committee will be asked to approve on Tuesday, says the transport network is being placed under high stress at peak times, particularly in and out Wellington’s CBD.
The plan estimated charging motorists to enter Wellington’s CBD could reduce car trips during the morning rush by 4 millionÂ and increase public transport tripsÂ by 3m annually.
Greater Wellington’s public transport portfolio leader Paul Swain said most of the debate about road pricing thus far had been in Auckland, and Wellington was keen to join the discussion.
He acknowledged that the two cities combined would possess strong lobbying power, but he said the intention was not to strong-arm the Government.
“The Government, in my view, will be quite cautious about the shift towards this.”
But Transport Minister Simon BridgessaidÂ the Government was not keen on new funding tools for transport.
HeÂ wasÂ always happy to engage with Wellington and Auckland’s councils.
Auckland Mayor Len Brown said it would be inappropriate for him to comment on the challenges facing Wellington.
It’s not unprecedented of course. Â Except we’ve had tolls to pay for the item itself. Â Be it a bridge, or a road extension.
Where this is going wrong is that it is a general taxation mechanism, and although it appears to be roughly targeted at “transport” related expenditure, it is the thin end of the wedge.
Once you add personal or company tax, GST, rates, ACC, fuel, and sin taxes, our lives are already taxed well in excess of 50 cents in the dollar. Â There has to be someone that recognises we need to do more with less, not just come for the tax and rate payers’ pockets. Â Again. Â And again.
– Michael Forbes, Stuff