Businesses and industry associations in the Upper North Island are welcoming signs of real intent from Auckland Council in its planning for a congestion pricing scheme in Auckland.
Congestion pricing will be on the agenda when the Council’s Transport and Infrastructure Committee meets tomorrow, the intention being to establish a joint Auckland Transport/Auckland Council programme team to implement congestion pricing, apparently working towards a 2026 implementation timeframe.
Northern Infrastructure Forum (NIF) Chair Simon Bridges says the Council’s plans dovetail nicely with the likely central government work programme.
“The enabling legislation for congestion pricing has been drafted and, with consensus support for congestion pricing across the main parties, the expectation is that it will be picked up by the incoming government early in this term,” says Mr Bridges. “There’s a real sense that, at last, the stars are aligning for congestion pricing.”
Mr Bridges says no single initiative could do more to put a dent in Auckland’s rampant congestion than congestion pricing.
“If we’re going to keep up with population growth and rising travel demand, as well as unlocking productivity in this city, we can’t keep reaching for the same tools,” says Mr Bridges. “We need to be open to new solutions, and we need to be bold.”
Mr Bridges say that it is critical that, when it comes to scheme objectives, Auckland Council and Auckland Transport maintain a tight focus on improving network performance and throughput.
“What the business community and the public are going to want to see ahead of anything else – including revenue generation and emissions reduction – is improved travel times.”
Mr Bridges says the NIF looks forward to working with Auckland Council, Auckland Transport and other agencies to help build and maintain momentum.