Phil Goff wanted to get the government to tax Aucklanders for using the roads they’ve already paid for along with a specific fuel tax to fund his inherited transport pipe dreams.
That has now reached the logical conclusion it was always going to reach in an election year.
Auckland mayor Phil Goff’s major platform for funding the yearly $400 million shortfall for transport projects has been run off the road.
The government has ruled out a regional fuel tax, Mr Goff’s main hope for bridging the shortfall gap.
Finance Minister Stephen Joyce said a regional fuel tax will not be introduced as “they are administratively difficult, prone to leakage and cost-spreading, and blur the accountabilities between central and local government.”
Instead, Mr Joyce says the government will explore options with the council such as tolls and congestion pricing. Speaking to NBR after his first formal speech as the finance minister, Mr Joyce says Auckland is running out of room to extend the roading network after current projects are completed.
The mayor says he is disappointed at the government’s decision given the city’s worsening traffic congestion.
However, it should not have come as any surprise to Mr Goff.
When Auckland Council and the government agreed in September on a $24 billion package of transport projects in the next 10 years forming part of an $83 billion spend over the next three decades, Transport Minister Simon Bridges said at the time Mr Goff’s plans to introduce a fuel tax were not the preferred option of the government.
“We have to be careful about imposing new taxes on Aucklanders.”
Mr Bridges said he expected there was more likely to be a congestion tax but government mandarins and council staff had serious work to do on funding and “it is not about plugging the short-term revenue gap but changing the travelling public’s behaviours.”
Phil Goff is going to have to wear the increases taxes/rates that he proposes. National are never going to let them take the blame for his spending promises. He’s got the pip:
Mr Goff says while the government has the power to rule out a fuel tax, it has a duty to the people of Auckland to come back to council with alternative solutions.
“Aucklanders are fed up with sitting in their cars on the motorway for hours at a time. It’s lost time for them and lost productivity for the city,” Mr Goff says.
He says people want the government to work with the council to find an agreed solution.
“In my view, a regional fuel tax is a fair, effective and efficient way of helping close the current $400 million a year gap in transport funding.”
Actually Phil, it is up to you as Mayor to come up with solutions, and ones that are within your power to implement. Stop expecting the government to subsidise your pipe dreams…or adjust those dreams to something that is manageable.
We want new roads, not stupid train tracks.