Transport Minister Steven Joyce has not been idle. The regional petrol tax funding method was set up when Toll was in private hands. He is now proposing that rather than have central Govt hand over petrol tax money to the Regional Council for them to buy the trains, they do it directly through KiwiRail.
This means Auckland gets electric trains, yet no hike in petrol tax. It means the cost is funded by taxpayers rather than motorists.
As I said at the weekend, I think public transport should not be funded from petrol tax – but directly by the Crown as a competing public good. So this looks good to me.
In theory the left should love this, as it is increasing the fiscal stimulus they care so much about.