Alternative options for funding critical transport projects such as the additional Waitemata Harbour Crossing, City Rail Link, Penlink, rail to the Airport and the East-West Link will be considered by Auckland Council on Thursday.
"If and when these projects proceed, Auckland will be required to fund part of the cost alongside government contributions."
"Auckland Council is considering a number of funding options which can be used instead of loading all the burden on to Aucklanders' rates bill," says Len Brown.
"While the proposal does not rule out other funding mechanisms such as tolls or fare charges, it does identify three options that need additional work, as a result of public feedback. The proposal is for council to consider doing further work around regional fuel taxes, congestion and network charging and additional car parking charges."
"I remain open-minded to a number of funding options. What is certain, however, is that Council must consider new ways to fund these major transport projects in a way which is affordable and fair for Aucklanders."
The report follows a discussion document released earlier this year entitled "Getting Auckland Moving". Eighty-five per cent of submitters felt additional funding was required to address the region's transport infrastructure challenges.
"Alternative funding options are required because we face a $10-15 billion funding gap between Auckland's future transport needs and what rates and taxes can cover. Auckland's congestion will significantly worsen as the region's population continues to surge. Auckland and the government need to invest in a mix of road and rail projects to provide the region with a transport system which will cope with a population of two million plus."
The five most popular options were tolling on new roads, regional fuel taxes, congestion charging, development contributions and additional car parking charges. As tolling of new roads and development contributions are permissible under existing legislation, it was felt they did not require the same level of investigation.
The report proposes that further investigation of the three funding mechanisms take place with the aim of taking a funding proposal to government in 12 months recommending relevant legislation be changed. A consultative working group comprising council, government, community organisations, business and transport groups will be set up to consider and develop the proposals.
"The citizens of Auckland will be given the chance to have their say before any final decisions are made. It is important that we develop fair and affordable funding options for further consideration," says the Mayor.
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