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Mayor responds to cancellation of Regional Fuel Tax – Auckland Council

Aucklanders will have to pay higher rates or miss out on major road and public transport improvements if the Government goes ahead with cancelling the Regional Fuel Tax (RFT) this year.

Today, the Minister of Transport, Hon. Simeon Brown, announced that the Government intends to enact legislation to repeal the Land Transport Management (Regional Fuel Tax) Act, with the RFT scheme ending on 30 June 2024, four years earlier than planned.

A Curia Market Research Poll commissioned by the Office of the Mayor in November 2023 found that 44 per cent of Aucklanders want to keep the RFT, while only 26 per cent were in favour of cancelling RFT projects, and just 22 per cent favoured increasing rates to make up the shortfall in funding. [2: The poll of 2,000 adult Auckland residents was conducted in October 2023 and has a margin of error of +/- 2.2 for a result of 50 per cent. Results were weighted to reflect the overall Auckland population in terms of age, gender, and council ward.]

“While I acknowledge that the National Party campaigned to repeal the RFT, and they are making good on their election promise, this decision will have unintended consequences unless the Government is prepared to foot the bill for upcoming transport projects,” Mayor Brown says.

The cancellation of the Regional Fuel Tax will leave a shortfall in transport funding for Auckland of $1.2 billion over the next four years. Furthermore, the loss in revenue will mean that Auckland Council’s debt-to-revenue ratio will increase, meaning the council has less ability to borrow when it needs to. – The Government has been advised that, when the scheme ends on 1 July, there will be around $350 million of unspent money held in reserve. However, these funds will only be enough to complete the next stage of the Eastern Busway (including the Reeves Road flyover) and fund the purchase of electric rail units for the City Rail Link. “The money set aside has been fully allocated to projects that are under construction. It just isn’t spent until contractual milestones are met. That’s standard practice when you’re building something,” Mayor Brown says.

“Auckland Council will have no choice but to pause any further work on projects funded by the RFT, including those already contracted, to see how we can fund them in the Long-term Plan.”

RFT-funded projects that could be cancelled include planned improvements to major roads such as Glenvar Road and Lake Road, as well as the fourth and final stage of the Eastern Busway and work to progress the proposed Airport-Botany Busway.

“I must be honest with Aucklanders about the financial constraints we are under. As a direct consequence of the Government’s decision to cancel the RFT, some of these projects may very well be cancelled altogether,” Mayor Brown says.

“I remain determined to keep rates under control and I’m simply not prepared to pass the cost of these projects on to struggling Auckland households. I’ve already proposed to cut spending on cycleways by $141.5 million and raised pedestrian crossings by $80 million. I’m quite happy to talk with the government about what else we can cut.”

“But this is a problem that can’t be solved just by making cuts. Every Aucklander agrees that our transport system is a mess and it’s going to cost a lot of money to fix. That money must come from somewhere. Unfortunately, the Government has just made it a lot harder for us,” Mayor Brown says.

RFT project name

Project Name

Description

Project 1: Bus priority improvements

Bus Access and Optimisation Programme

Improve customer experience and bus accessibility with minor changes (such as bus shelters, bus route mitigations, optimising bus operations)

Sylvia Park Bus Improvements

Bus upgrades at Sylvia Park and surrounding area to address access, growing bus frequency/demand and housing intensification

Rosedale Bus Station and Corridor

A new busway station (NX1,2) and multi-mode access improvements to Rosedale Road

Project 2: City centre bus infrastructure

Albert and Vincent Street Improvements

Bus priority lanes and cycleway to improve CBD access for northwest and other bus routes

Downtown Crossover Bus East Stage1

Bus priority on Customs and Beach streets, and new off-street bus layover at Quay park

Downtown Crossover Bus East Stage3

Upgrades and new bus charging to Quay Park bus layover, and bus priority upgrades on Symonds street to access Quay Park layover.

Downtown Crossover Bus West Stage2

Bus priority works in Lower Hobson, Sturdee and Fanshawe streets, and new bus layover at Wynyard

Midtown Bus Improvements for CRL

Street upgrade, bus facilities and bus lanes on Wellesley street between Queen St and Albert St

Midtown Bus Improvements West Stage2

Street upgrade, bus facilities and bus lanes on Wellesley street from Albert Street to Victoria Park

Project 3: Improving airport access

Airport to Botany Stage 2 Bus Improvements

Interim improvements to the A2B route and to align/connect with the Eastern busway

Mangere West Cycleway

Cycleway and links from new Mangere pedestrian bridge area towards the airport

Project 4: Eastern Busway

Eastern Busway Stage2-3

Eastern Busway Stages 2 and 3, as currently approved for construction and in-progress

Eastern Busway Stage4

Eastern Busway Stage 4 to Botany Town Centre including Botany station

Project 5: Park-and-ride facilities

Matiatia Landside (Park and Ride)

Upgrades to the Matiatia area (Waiheke Island) for multiple modes

Park and Ride Programme

Continuation of general improvements to park and ride facilities and some expansion where practical

Project 6: Electric trains and stabling

EMU Rolling Stock Tranche for CRL

Additional electric rail units to increase the fleet in preparation for CRL opening

EMU Stabling and Depots for CRL

Additional parking and upgraded depot facilities for the rail fleet in preparation for CRL opening

Project 7: Ferry network improvements

Ferry Charging and Infrastructure

Infrastructure and electricity supply on wharves for charging electric ferries

Project 8: Road safety

Community Network Improvements

Prioritised small-scale projects (traffic lights, crossings, traffic calming, etc) responding to issues raised by communities and Local Boards.

Road Safety Programme

Projects to support reducing DSIs (Vision Zero). Mainly improving safety for vulnerable road users, ped/cyclist safety and high risk intersections

Safe Speeds programme

Speed management improvements, predominately reducing vehicle speeds near schools.

Project 9: Active transport

Community Cycling and Micromobility

Small scale projects to improve local cycling connections, bike facilities, and some protection for cycling routes

Marae and Papakainga (Turnouts) safety programme

Improve safety and accessibility to Marae and papakainga sites; similar approach to Road Safety Programme

Karangahape Roadside for CRL

Improvements to streets adjacent to the two new Karanga-a-Hape station entrances.

Cycleways Programme (lower cost)

New lower-cost cycleways to encourage more cycling, improve safety and travel options, and reduce emissions

Meadowbank Kohimarama Connectivity Project

Pathway to connect Gowing Drive with the Glenn Innes to Tamaki Shared Path and Kohimarama (including rail underpass)

Urban Cycleways Great North Road

New cycleway and other infrastructure (bus priority) upgrades on Great North Road

Project 12: Road corridor improvements

Glenvar Road/East Coast Road Intersection and Corridor

Corridor upgrade to improve multi-mode performance (safety, intersection optimisation, active modes, and bus)

Lake Road/Esmonde Road Improvements

Corridor upgrade to improve active modes, safety, intersection optimisation and support Public Transport.

Project 13: Network capacity and performance improvement

Freight Network Improvements

Aligned with Network Optimisation programme this focuses on specific interventions on the Freight network such as HOV lanes

Intelligent Transport Systems

Aligned with Network Optimisation, technology to optimise the current network; such as live traffic management, CCTV, video analytics

Network Optimisation

Optimising the network and road space usage with minor changes such as dynamic lanes, special vehicle lanes, sensors/timing, smart technology

Project 14: Growth-related transport infrastructure

Drury Local Road Improvements

New and improved multi-mode roads/paths/intersections (arterials and collectors) to support Council priority growth areas

Kainga Ora Auckland Housing Programme

Upgrades to multi-mode roads/paths/intersections to support Council priority growth areas (Kainga Ora) and improve travel choices

Northwest Growth Improvements

New and improved multi-mode roads/paths/intersections (arterials and collectors) to support Council priority growth areas

Wainui and Redhills Growth Improvements

Completion of agreements to co-fund developers in the Wainui and Redhills areas to deliver transport infrastructure to support growth

 

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