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Congestion pricing 'a solution whose time has come'

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Auckland businesses say congestion pricing is a solution whose time has come, and are calling on the Government to confirm plans for a congestion pricing scheme in Auckland as part of upcoming announcements on emissions reduction.

Auckland Business Forum Chair Michael Barnett says congestion has had the city in a stranglehold for many years, and businesses and households are desperate for meaningful, long-term solutions.

"Of all the transport projects being looked at in Auckland, none would do more to free up traffic than congestion pricing," says Mr Barnett. "And the great thing is, it can be implemented pretty quickly, and pretty affordably.

"Congestion is set to get a whole lot worse in the years ahead. We can’t afford to keep delaying this - we need to bite the bullet and get moving."

Mr Barnett says there’s a strong chorus of support for congestion pricing among industry and advocacy groups, and public support will grow when Auckland Council and the Government put forward a compelling case.

"They have to awaken the public to the benefits, not just the costs. That means telling a compelling story about travel-time savings, emissions reduction, and the infrastructure investment that revenue from a congestion pricing scheme will enable.

"It also means putting forward options to mitigate impacts on lower-income working Aucklanders."

Mr Barnett says that Covid-19 has given Auckland a brief respite from traffic growth, and that makes it even more important to act now.

"We all know it’s going to come back with a vengeance. We need to do all we can to get ahead of the wave," he says.

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