Funding roads

July 21st, 2012 at 10:00 am by David Farrar

CBS reports:

Bay Area drivers could one day be tracked using a -like device in their cars and taxed per miles driven – a scenario which is part of a proposed long-range study aimed at finding ways to reduce traffic and pollution, while also raising revenues.

Members of the Metropolitan Transportation Commission and the Association of Bay Area Governments are scheduled to vote on Thursday on whether or not to authorize a study of the proposal. Under the plan, drivers would have to install  trackers in their vehicle and officials would tax drivers for every mile they travel.

So long as you can deal with the privacy issue, I think this is the future. Those who use the roads should pay for them. is as close as we can currently get to making users pay, but being able to charge based on actual usage would be better. You could even have some roads cost more to use at various times.

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94 Responses to “Funding roads”

  1. dog_eat_dog (780 comments) says:

    The logical extension of this is that I should only pay for the roads I am actually using, and then it doesn’t become economical at all. I love how people get all user-pays when Auckland’s roading projects need finishing after the country’s biggest city got a disproportionately small amount from the consolidated fund on a per capita basis for decades. Maybe Auckland should send back-dated invoices to other regions based on that same user-pays philosophy.

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  2. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    I think this is the future

    Really? Sounds like a nightmate to me. The future I want doesn’t involve the state literally monitoring every move I make.

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  3. krazykiwi (9,186 comments) says:

    You could even have some roads cost more to use at various times.

    Roads already cost more at various times. My time is a currency.

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  4. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    Agree totally with ‘krazykiwi’…..regardless of how good any privacy protection may look this is one very short step from big brother state….on steroids!

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  5. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    Under the plan, drivers would have to install trackers in their vehicle and officials would tax drivers for every mile they travel.

    The Soviet Union would have loved this. Whatever happened to the Land of the Free?

    As already mentioned, the petrol tax already covers this. It’s just another expensive surveillance mechanism we’ll be forced to pay for.

    And as Krazy said, time is currency. Peak users already pay more, and the only people they affect are other peak users. There is no externality.

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  6. UrbanNeocolonialist (288 comments) says:

    And then someone will come up with a simple device to transmit GPS spoofing signals into the device (easy to do) to give it a fixed location and no charges.

    Petrol taxes are cheap to collect and quite effective.

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  7. swan (665 comments) says:

    Yep this is a great idea. This is relatively low hanging fruit (as long as the technology can be sorted) – particularly being able to charge users more for peak vs off peak use. It would substantially increase the value we get from our existing infrastructure.

    It would also shut down any talk of the taxpayer funding rail, as all externalities and cross-subsidisation could be internalised or eliminated (these being the main arguments in favour of the taxpayer funding rail).

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  8. swan (665 comments) says:

    “Peak users already pay more, and the only people they affect are other peak users. There is no externality.”

    This isnt quite right. Peak users drive the demand for more capital expenditure. But everyone has to pay through petrol tax.

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  9. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    So long as you can deal with the privacy issue, I think this is the future.

    Another WTF moment.

    How about checking the odometer at intervals? Could this be a slightly cheaper and more efficient than having GPSs in every car!?! Or how about a tax on petrol? That’s going to be roughly proportional to damage done to the road.

    Seriously, could you think of a more inefficient way than installing hidden, resilient, tamper-proof and accurate GPSs in every vehicle on the road, which all have some standardised interface to record and calculate mileage within various boundaries?

    I guess if you were a Green Party supporter you could argue that doing this creates jobs. 200 admin and well-paid developers for a complicated software product that is completely unneeded. Would we have a new minister for car GPSs?

    This idea is absolutely ridiculous for NZ’s situation. It is along the ranks of us all living beneath the sea in glass domes full of heliox, or powering our houses with animals on treadmills. It’s a dumb idea for calculating road-use charges.

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  10. CJPhoto (221 comments) says:

    Petrol tax effectively charges based on mileage with a penalty built in for inefficient vehicles. – kills two birds with one stone.

    GPS only really need it you are going to vary the charge based on roads or time of day

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  11. swan (665 comments) says:

    TristanB, you know we already have this technology in NZ right?

    http://www.eroad.co.nz/system-overview/

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  12. wat dabney (3,756 comments) says:

    Peak users drive the demand for more capital expenditure. But everyone has to pay through petrol tax.

    Presumably there is this effect to some degree. On the other hand whose petrol taxes pay for the extensive but relatively little-used rural road network?

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  13. Scott Chris (6,137 comments) says:

    Bay Area drivers could one day be tracked using a GPS-like device in their cars and taxed per miles driven

    Stupid idea. Disincentivises economical use of petrol. Excise tax works fine. Just isn’t high enough.

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  14. Than (473 comments) says:

    I agree with Scott Chris, petrol taxes encourage efficient driving, and they are close enough when it comes to estimating road usage. A slightly more accurate measurement is not worth the invasion of privacy.

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  15. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    swan

    The ‘eroad’ system is used almost exclusively by trucking firms where it would be fairer to describe it as a ‘driver compliance tool’ than anything else. Not dissimilar to installing a web camera trained on every desk jockey to monitor his/her toilet, cigarette or social chat breaks.

    So long as the truck drivers know that they are monitored constantly that is a matter between them & their employer. Not so with the general public who are using their vehicles for private transport. There are huge implications if people can be tracked & there are other ways, already in use, of extracting payment for funding of our roads.

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  16. The Scorned (719 comments) says:

    If the roads and the monitoring are all private then who cares…? bring it on.

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  17. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    Given the policy requests of law enforcement in the UK with this new ‘snoopers charter’ that is being introduced by the Coalition, I would say that even if there are initially safeguards on the privacy aspect, after a while the Police would be asking for records to be retained for 1 or 2 years to assist with investigations.

    It would be inevitable.

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  18. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    F E Smith

    I wonder how long after such a scheme was introduced it would take before vehicle insurance companies would demand that you sign a privacy waver before they would offer cover. Speeding tickets issued remotely? That would be a nice little earner.

    Then a few years down the track some bright boy , knowing that the public have been softened up, proposes that we are all microchipped, just in case we play too close to the water or wander off the footpath.

    It may not be the intention of today’s proposal but big brother never sleeps.

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  19. Linda Reid (415 comments) says:

    This is a very bad idea. Petrol tax already covers usage adequately.

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  20. MajorBloodnok (361 comments) says:

    Insurance companies in UK and USA are already offering discounts to drivers whose voluntarily-fitted “black box” data shows them to be lower risk (mileage, speed, braking habits, driving style, etc).

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  21. MajorBloodnok (361 comments) says:

    If most drivers said “yes” to this scheme, but only on the condition that public transport users paid for the Full Cost of their chosen means of transport (no subsidies from road users or taxpayers or ratepayers)… well, I think the idea would be buried again very quickly.

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  22. Harriet (4,970 comments) says:

    DPF #

    “…Those who use the roads should pay for them. Petrol tax is as close as we can currently get to making users pay, but being able to charge based on actual usage would be better…”

    You are completetly wrong!

    First you have the building costs of a road then much later the maintanence costs.

    And how exactly are we going to work all of that out between a bicycle, car, car with trailer full, car with trailer empty etc etc.

    Oh I know…..A return to the past…..weigh bridges….they would be more acurate than this computer thingy majig. :cool:

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  23. Mark (496 comments) says:

    There is no way I would want any organisation monitoring my movements – this is big brother.

    The petrol tax already does the same job without the expensive technology. The only reason this is being proposed is they do want to monitor your movements.

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  24. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Well the natural extension of this is that public transport costs will sky-rocket, buses on the road all day, tickets through the roof. Who catches buses, poorer people generally.

    Well we will just subsidize it then, hold on how much more of this subsidizing bull shit can the people who work handle.

    And David, I already pay for every fucking kilometer I drive. Its called road user charges

    I love San Francisco its an open liberal town but its chocker full of liberal greenies

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  25. swan (665 comments) says:

    OK… So thats a no then? :)

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  26. tvb (4,421 comments) says:

    The police will want access to the information and the politicians will let them. There are huge risks of avoidance whereas petrol tax cannot be avoided. It will open up congestion charging and road toll generally. No no no

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  27. F E Smith (3,305 comments) says:

    nasska,

    good points. I would guess it would not be immediate, but give it 3 or 4 years and you will begin to get the ‘this will save lives’ routine from the investigative authorities.

    Your insurance company point is especially interesting.

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  28. kowtow (8,470 comments) says:

    Cyclists and pedestrians use the roads too. Heavy trucks take a toll and create maintenance issues how do we deal with that.

    A big no to big brother.

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  29. KevinH (1,227 comments) says:

    This is an American story that could apply in a New Zealand context, no doubt the discussion would cover the same points. Privacy would be the main issue and regulators and law makers would have to offer some guarantee’s that privacy would not be compromised.

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  30. GT (44 comments) says:

    Excellent. So you’re also promoting that we start heavily taxing tourists and tourism (as they are heavy transit users as well). Great way to hit up one of our largest industries. You’re also indirectly going to make domestic tourism far more expensive, and people won’t travel as far in their own country. If we did this, and say Australia didn’t, I’d be far more likely to go on a roadtrip in Aussie.

    And like everyone else says, with the privacy concerns, I’ll be one of the first out there protesting. Maybe we should GPS chip all politicians first so we can track where they go, and who they meet. If that is successful, then we can roll it out to the rest of the country :p

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  31. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    All MP’s, Public Servants, Mayors, Councillors, Judges, Flash Lawyers ( :) ), beneficiaries, in fact any arsehole who leeches their living off the public purse should be micro chipped and their every move tested against a cost/benefit criteria.

    Those who fail the test could be terminated. (One way or the other). :)

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  32. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    All the lovers of lefty la la land nanny state would love this idea if it came from their own party…. yet it’s on DPF’s blog so it’s bad. Partisan hacks at their finest.

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  33. burt (8,269 comments) says:

    Privacy concerns… yes a GPS would be ** so much more invasive ** than roadside cameras with number plate recognition software operating…. Lucky that’s not being done anywhere eh ….

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  34. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    Na Burt its nothing to do with left or right , just a plain stupd idea that would hike costs immeasurably.

    The technology is already here, most transport companies us it for fuel economy and to see if their drivers are treating the machinery well and its a big favourite for trucks that work off road, they can claim the RUC’s back, the exact amount, whereas once upon a time the IRD was really hard on them and only gave a fraction back.

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  35. tristanb (1,127 comments) says:

    Swan: TristanB, you know we already have this technology in NZ right?

    Thanks for that. I think I’ll install the cheapest $69/month option. It’s money well spent to find how far I’ve driven.

    If only someone invented something that was connected to the wheels, and could measure the distance that a vehicle travelled. I hear Vitruvius has thought of a device that uses a pin on the axle of a chariot, that rotates a cog every mile dropping a pebble into a box. You determine distance by counting the pebbles. It might be something people could develop further.

    Also, relating to my previous comment, the technology for cows on treadmills to produce 6% of the world’s power is here.

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  36. wikiriwhis business (3,998 comments) says:

    I bought this issue up several years ago on Kiwi blog and a Akld City councillor blatantly denied GPS scanning of cars even though it had been all over the media…. can’t trust any of them….. the price of petrol and fuel taxes along with road tolls will marginalise many Kiwis…not to mention future tobin carbon taxes created solely to finance the UN.

    We will be utterly raped by the financial terrorists and the banker occupation terrorists we’ve seen in Europe with the help of traitorous govts….. not to mention the Chinese buying all our land from privatisation govts.

    No wonder Winston’s star is ascending . Absolutely no surprise.

    The tactics the Nat/Lab coalition will use to strip third party representation will be astounding!

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  37. swan (665 comments) says:

    Seriously, I would have thought kiwiblogers would be all for a technology that allow for efficient pricing of a scarce resource. And removed any excuse for subsidising public transport.

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  38. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    swan

    …”And removed any excuse for subsidising public transport”…..

    A pipe dream. A bus or train represents a way to transport screaming babies, ignorant teenagers, sweaty unemployed people and piss-drenched pensioners from where they don’t want to be to where they don’t want to go when they don’t want to do it. You must be a reactionary if you think that convenience is important.

    Our limousine socialists in the Labour & Green Parties will fight in the ditches to ensure that wealthy capitalists who can afford luxuries such as cars continue to subsidise public transport. Another means of gouging a few more dollars out of the pockets of motorists will also ensure more funding for the socialists’ welfare policy of the month.

    Think of the children!

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  39. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    This is nothing but an overly expensive techy way to collect a tax that is already collected at the petrol pump with a side effect of letting big bro spy as well.
    No No No.
    A few well placed toll barriers can pick up some cash for special projects like transmission gulley.

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  40. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    “Think of the children!”

    No fuck the children!

    Oh shit I shouldn’t have said that eh!

    Sorry folks didn’t really mean that!

    Oh fuck!!! :)

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  41. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    No fuck the children!

    Didn’t realise you were a man of the cloth JB

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  42. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    I do administer to my flock as required PEB.

    “Let the Lamb come to it’s Father whenever he fancies it”

    Book of Johnboy. Chapter V. Verse IIIVL. :)

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  43. V (720 comments) says:

    nasska

    Clearly never been to Switzerland have we? And for that matter, high speed trains in Europe more generally are hardly ferrying around the great unwashed and unemployed.

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  44. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    V

    Never been to Switzerland & I still remain confident of dying a happy man. Point is that population density in Europe allows public transport to compete for the travel dollar. I seem to remember that high speed rail is competitive with air for medium haul trips.

    This however, means absolutely nothing in Auckland or Wellington where trains & buses are slow, unreliable, uncomfortable, poorly scheduled & generally transport the dregs of society.

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  45. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    Once we put the 400kph rail link through the Rimutakas nasska you too will realise the advantages of having your Green Party MP’s only 20 minutes away if you need them! :)

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  46. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    Johnboy

    A better idea would be dynamiting the existing tunnel just in case one of the no hopers decides to take up residence here!

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  47. Monique Watson (1,062 comments) says:

    Oh dear God and all his very many spokespeople. Here we go with the sheep jokes.
    Nasska, you hit the monkey on the head. It’s very much a socialist money-go-round in the SF Bay Area in many regards.
    Tax per mile is not needed. FFS, there is already petrol tax at the pump and an extensive toll system in place in the Bay Area (Fastrak) that tolls on bridges and express (non-carpool) lanes.
    If you look at some of the policy it is an initiative to curb Greenhouse gas emissions. So you’ve got a good basis for skepticism right from the outset.
    http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Officials-approve-study-of-SF-Bay-area-mileage-tax-3720583.php

    Re Fastrak:
    https://www.bayareafastrak.org/vector/static/facilities/index.shtml

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  48. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    What sort of tax breaks do you have over there for lonely sheepherders Monique?

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  49. swan (665 comments) says:

    “…”And removed any excuse for subsidising public transport”…..

    A pipe dream. A bus or train represents a way to transport screaming babies, ignorant teenagers, sweaty unemployed people and piss-drenched pensioners from where they don’t want to be to where they don’t want to go when they don’t want to do it. You must be a reactionary if you think that convenience is important.”

    nasska, the rationale for subsidising public transport out of petrol taxes is that they provide decongestion benefits to motorists.

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  50. V (720 comments) says:

    nasska

    I’d make the point that our population is growing, and just as we used to think 2 lanes each way is all the Auckland Harbour Bridge would ever need, so too it is with public transport options. You need to ensure access corridors are preserved today, so you aren’t face with a cost blowout in the future.
    Also the roads v public transport argument always seems to be the prevalent argument, however it really is a falsehood pulled on the public.
    Many countries manage to have both, ie quality roads and rail.
    Question is why don’t we? Mainly years of neglect and spending money on poor consumption-related expenditures
    How much do we spend a year on welfare? Yet if you want to spend 1/20th of this amount on a rail line, that might actually increase accessibility of people (esp. the poorest) to move around, get to centres of employment etc, the howls of protest go up.

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  51. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    Anyone I know, who can afford to fill the tank, wouldn’t be seen dead in a fucking bus! :)

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  52. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    Monique

    Thanks for the link. It all boils down to officious ‘we know best what’s for you’ little bastards brainstorming ways to extend their influence over the citizenry. They don’t even have the honesty to front up & call the crap for what it is.

    I see the long term effect (if not the initial intention) of the scheme as Stage 1 of a plan for control of everyone from birth to death. If anyone who may be effected swallows the bullshit & rolls over to have their tummy tickled it will represent another nail in the coffin for individual freedom.

    Don’t let anyone you know hang on to delusions that this has anything to do with funding transport….it’s a control scheme pure & simple.

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  53. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    swan

    …”the rationale for subsidising public transport out of petrol taxes is that they provide decongestion benefits to motorists.”…..

    Building more decent roads has the same effect.

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  54. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    Course folks on welfare should be forced to catch the bus or train. Never worked out why the taxpayers get to pick up the bill for repairing their Japper imports so they get the underprivileged sprogs to EM?

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  55. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    I take there are fuck all buses in the wilds of Wairarapa then nasska? :)

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  56. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    V

    I can see where you’re heading when you advocate retaining access corridors. It’s actually a bloody good idea & I’m dead against the proposals occasionally floated to abandon railway lines & sell off the land.

    It does however, raise the issue of WHEN do we build expensive alternative means to move people around & it’s my opinion that now is not the time, nor do I think that such schemes will be viable for at least another couple of decades. For the time being the car is king & we need to cater for reality rather than pie in the sky wankups like Loopy Len’s trainset.

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  57. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    Johnboy

    We poor but hardy country folk just hitch the bullocks to the wagon when we need to visit the bright lights & decadence that is Masterton.

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  58. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    You right wingers seem to have gone full circle in your political thinking.

    User pays, but with big brother. More tax?

    What’s next – you might finally admit the neoliberal agenda has failed Western Society.

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  59. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    You are so lucky nasska that your trek is all on the flat. We residents of Wainuiomartia have to replace the brake blocks on our wagons after every trip to Queensgate to replenish our supplies.

    The Maori’s have a fucking lot to answer for for that fucking big hill their bloody Taniwha placed between us and civilisation.

    I suspect we will be reimbursed when our case gets heard by the Waitangi Tribunal! :)

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  60. mikenmild (11,247 comments) says:

    Perhaps Queensgate should be relocated to Wainuiomata – that’s work.

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  61. V (720 comments) says:

    naaska,

    You need a policy that allows for steady incremental investment. Rather than trying to decide on a particular ‘moment’ when the moons are in alignment. Repeat expenditure of a lesser amount over time will create far better outcomes than doing nothing for 20 years and then trying to do a cash splash.

    If car is really king, then lets see some entirely private toll roads, with users paying the full costs of maintenance and upkeep. You rarely see them, w/o the govt buyback clauses that means the govt has already guaranteed to buy them in 30 years (or whenever) time. I would be in favour of govt. loosening rules in this regard, would be interesting to see how many private interests would decide to build a new road entirely on their own capital.

    As for Auckland train loop, remember when the propsal to build the Britomart transport centre was announced. The argument then was nobody would use it, white elephant, waste of money etc etc.
    Yet, now that it is nearing maximum train capacity the argument for the loop is to increase the number of trains/hr that can get in/out. Seems eminently sensible to me.
    The arguments made by people who made predictions of Britomart being a failure really should be held to account. Of course they never are, they just slink off into the background to reappear to shout down the next development.

    There are some other commentors above labelling public transport as socialism. Kind of ironic and inconvenient that the build of the US Interstate system is one of the biggest govt. programs in history.

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  62. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    Johnboy

    You shouldn’t be in too much of a rush to blame the Taniwha. There’s a theory that when Maui fished up the North Island that his rough handling of the catch caused all those wrinkles around Wainuiomata to form.

    Unfortunately the ancient wise ones are fairly busy on the water problem at the moment but I’m sure they’ll give a decision in due course.

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  63. Simon Arnold (109 comments) says:

    I was part of group that proposed this approach to govt back in the early 1990s.

    I should say it will be coming pretty soon to replace RUC. Most road transport firms are now monitoring their fleets using GPS so it would be a simple step to shift from hubomoters to GPS. The incentive would be to optimise time of day use to avoid peaks, because like electricity it will the peaks that determine capacity and costly investment (the value of time is a poor surrogate).

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  64. Manolo (13,767 comments) says:

    If it’s another form of taxation you can bet your bottom-dollar it’ll be supported by Labour and Labour lite.
    When comes to rapacity very little separates these twins joined at the hip.

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  65. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    V

    So many points!

    1) It is my opinion that now is not the time to extend the public transport infrastructure. Crystal balls which have a better record than transport planners get pretty foggy ten years out never mind fifty.

    2) For the time being the car is the transport medium of choice. Even the scaremongering over oil supplies ignores the likelihood of new developments in vehicle technology. In any case the value in the roading system doesn’t end in the kilometers of tarseal as it is now…..if rail or buses do become the transport options of the future the transport corridors provided by arterial roads will be no less valuable.

    3) In the public vs private debate it is worth looking at economies of scale. NZ as a small backwater at the end of the earth is never going to attract the cheap capital required for major infrastructure projects. Examples are the rail system of the 19th/20th century, roading & air of the 20th century & fibre optic cable now. Basically it’s government involvement or nothing. If this is interpreted to mean socialism then so be it.

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  66. swan (665 comments) says:

    swan

    …”the rationale for subsidising public transport out of petrol taxes is that they provide decongestion benefits to motorists.”…..

    Building more decent roads has the same effect.”

    The point is they are both inefficient if the marginal user would rather not drive than pay the marginal cost required to fund such things.

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  67. swan (665 comments) says:

    “Swan: TristanB, you know we already have this technology in NZ right?

    Thanks for that. I think I’ll install the cheapest $69/month option. It’s money well spent to find how far I’ve driven.”

    Yes TristanB, because when it is a mass market product it will cost that much per user. Heard of economies of scale?

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  68. Viking2 (11,471 comments) says:

    nasska (4,050) Says:
    July 21st, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    Johnboy

    visit the bright lights & decadence that is Masterton.

    UMM, you jest of course.
    Those days of sheila’s gallore at the boarding schools who wanted to misbehave on the weekends have long gone.

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  69. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    swan

    Its about freedom, I want to drive to town now . I believe I have earnt the right to do this, I am sudsidizing enough with RUC etc

    I want to be able to drive home at 1.37 am with just my family.

    I really don’t mind the Auckland traffic, it can be a drag, but thats Auckland, its a city, no-where as bad as the few big US cities I have driven in.
    .
    The handicap will always be nobody having the nuts to think 30 years ahead and act, its typically New Zealand we do things half arsed and typically small local politicians more worried about their gig in the next 4 months than the greater good. The Auckland harbour bridge and the Auckland moorway system are prime examples.

    And I actually used the Auckland train service a couple of weks ago, I caught it with my daughter from town to Mt Albert and it was alright, ideal for my teenagers to get about, butbthat is all.

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  70. swan (665 comments) says:

    V

    “Yet, now that it is nearing maximum train capacity the argument for the loop is to increase the number of trains/hr that can get in/out. Seems eminently sensible to me.”

    ha ha ha haaaa.

    This is the joke. Even at capacity, rail still loses money hand over fist. They wouldn’t have a hope of paying for britomart with fares, the fares dont even pay the OPEX! And it isn’t just Britomart they have plowed money into. Project DART plus electrification adds up to wasted billions already. Building the CRL is throwing good money after bad.

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  71. V (720 comments) says:

    1) Why is the car related crystal ball somehow more accurate than the public transport one?

    2) Yes I agree with that, I’m not suggesting we stop building roads here. But I think at some point roads are not all that effective, eg. even with a superhighway to Auckland CBD, you can only really absord so many cars per hour.

    3) Somewhat true, but I think by investing continously rather than in fits and starts we can maintain expertise inhouse as it were and not have to waste money on huge consultancy projects, this is true whether you are planning a new road or rail. The aim should be to get more out of every $, I would include consulting on taniwha as but one example of said waste.

    I just think these things are somewhat circular, remember Auckland, Chch etc used to have extensive tramway networks before that capital was essentially willfully destroyed in many cases. We managed to fund that and then squander it.
    No reason why tracks had to be removed/paved over in such a hurry. Now lo-and behold many cities of the world are turning back to these options to ease congestion. It is rare that cities (such as Melbourne) managed to preserve the infrastructure then, so that it is still available to them now.
    I think there always needs to be maintained a balance between private and public transport modes because as you say nobody has a crystal ball.

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  72. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    V2

    I can assure you that few things would be further from my mind. Even if I did find a misbehaving boarding school girl the exertion would bloody near kill me.

    Christ, lately even a fit granny’s a challenge! :)

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  73. swan (665 comments) says:

    PEB

    “swan

    Its about freedom, I want to drive to town now . I believe I have earnt the right to do this, I am sudsidizing enough with RUC etc”

    Under this model, your drive into town now would cost you less! This time on Saturday is very much off peak. Thats the point. Feel free to use the road at 1.37am, plenty of capacity at that time of day.

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  74. V (720 comments) says:

    swan,

    And if all those people had to try and drive to work, the cost of new roads/maintenance is how much? Better to free up the roads at peak times for people who need it for providing commercial services/business etc
    If you’ve been to any largish city (to which Auckland aspires to be like) you will be well aware that if you shutdown the rail network (via a strike or somesuch) the impact on traffic is definitely measurable and in many cases chaos.

    Claiming electrifying the rail network is waste is akin to saying paving roads is waste, – they would be fine if all dirt or gravel wouldn’t they?
    Why do we spend money on such extras, after all if your morning commute averages 30-40kph you can do that on dirt can’t you? (/sarc)

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  75. swan (665 comments) says:

    V

    “swan,

    And if all those people had to try and drive to work, the cost of new roads/maintenance is how much? Better to free up the roads at peak times for people who need it for providing commercial services/business etc”

    The point is – there is no need to just “spend and hope”. If we actually price roads properly, we can see, objectively where the demand is. Maybe people are willing to pay for 12 lane motorways. Maybe they would rather spend a few dollars and take a bus. Maybe they would rather spend 20 or 30 dollars and take the train. Maybe they would cycle, walk, catch a ferry. Or maybe they would rather just not travel at all. Who are you to say what people would do if they faced the real costs of their travel choices.

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  76. Pauleastbay (5,035 comments) says:

    V

    …On dirt (sarc)

    You forget the RMA and dirt run off into the rivers and harbours. The cost of lining the dirt road with filter cloth would be greater than a 4 lane concrete motorway.

    I wonder if any greenie had quantified the deisel run off into the soil on the rail corridor from the locomotives

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  77. big bruv (13,888 comments) says:

    I imagine that others have mentioned this but if not I would like to make the following point.

    If road users are to be made to pay for the costs of funding roads will that mean that users of public transport will be made to pay the FULL price of their fare?

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  78. swan (665 comments) says:

    big bruv,

    Absolutely, in any sane world PT users would pay their way. This is the point I have been trying to make in this thread.

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  79. Harriet (4,970 comments) says:

    Only if you pay do you get a say.

    People who are going to push bikes and pay next to nothing should not have any say at all.

    NZ in the ’70’s I believe had this funding problem for roads solved until someone said that we should pay for the running of the entire country via a ‘consolodated fund’ – which then ment that Maoris, feminists and other bludgers were more important than the nations roads, and now it’s being suggested that we should go back to direct funding?

    Well, if we are going to have user pays and direct funding of roads then we should have it no matter where government money is spent – Maori’s pay a Maori tax and women pay a feminist tax.

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  80. nasska (11,503 comments) says:

    V

    1) I’d probably back the crystal ball enscribed ‘private vehicle’ because that is the one representing the status quo. Change may well come but the further out the harder it is to pick the form it will take.

    2) Accepted…I also question whether city centres will always be the hubs of activity they are now. It is quite possible that the IT revolution may well totally upend work practises. What happens after, even during the Christchurch CBD rebuilding will provide some clues.

    3) I think the demise of tram networks everywhere was inevitable. They represented a repeat of the normal bugbears of all public transport….simply they didn’t provide the freedom of choice that the paying public wanted. In the case of Auckland they had been allowed to run down & the huge injection of capital required to modernise the system wasn’t seen as viable.

    Re light rail…. there’s an excellent DVD by Rochelle Film Studios available entitled New Zealand Trams featuring about half an hour of “Trams of Auckland”. If you’re a vintage transport buff (like me) you may find it interesting as it details the development of the system through it’s heyday right up until the tracks were lifted.

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  81. V (720 comments) says:

    swan

    “The point is – there is no need to just “spend and hope”. If we actually price roads properly, we can see, objectively where the demand is. Maybe people are willing to pay for 12 lane motorways. Maybe they would rather spend a few dollars and take a bus. Maybe they would rather spend 20 or 30 dollars and take the train. Maybe they would cycle, walk, catch a ferry. Or maybe they would rather just not travel at all. Who are you to say what people would do if they faced the real costs of their travel choices.”

    Exactly but we are a long way from a world in which roads are accurately priced for new construction and more crucially to maintain them. The fact we have congestion in the first place attests to this. The cost is unseen by the rest of society, ie time wasted in traffic not used productively etc or lowering business productivity.

    I don’t seen continual investment as ‘spend and hope’, rather it is the status quo of do nothing for 20 years then spend in fits and starts as the “spend and hope” strategy. This is the case for all modes of transport.

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  82. V (720 comments) says:

    @pauleastbay

    Good thing for the electric trains then, you won’t find any of the diesel runoff you’re concearned about! Good clean hydro will be powering the majority of them (and a bit of coal/gas). :-)

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  83. swan (665 comments) says:

    Yes but V – that is the very nub of DPF’s post – road pricing!!!

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  84. Johnboy (16,554 comments) says:

    Who the fuck would want to trudge through the early morning darkness at risk of rape or worse to get to the train station to find that the piece of crap was late because of signal failure/union strike action/suicide lying on tracks/etc then to get off at the station to catch the bus that was delayed for similar reasons all the time having to breathe in the air from all the coughing sickos that frequent such services. Having risked life and limb and worked your ring off all day only to repeat the same travail home again.

    Not I.

    Thank God for the company wheels!!! :)

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  85. campit (467 comments) says:

    I think as cars get more fuel efficient and electric cars start to become more popular a move to distance based pricing along the lines of the present RUC regime will be inevitable. There is a looming funding shortfall from excise tax which is already at a nominal record high of around 60c a litre.

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  86. big bruv (13,888 comments) says:

    Johnboy

    You forgot to include the union scum who might decide to go on strike at short notice thus ensuring that you are hours late to work.

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  87. Hamnida (905 comments) says:

    big burv – Learn to read “…/union strike action/…..”

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  88. V (720 comments) says:

    @swan

    You need more than what people are willing to pay (money) to actually build a 12 lane motorway though. Usually people love such infrastructure with the proviso it goes nowhere near their house. Hence the congestion predicament. Thats why the long arm of the state is usually required to ride over property rights etc.
    You do have the same issue with rail lines however at least these can be put underground, albeit at higher expense, but not anywhere near the cost of trying to underground a motorway. And the rail line provides more capacity per $ than an equivalent motorway tunnel.
    Also to your earlier comment, sure what we need is road pricing but I don’t think having GPS trackers on vehicles is the way forward. What is wrong with simplifying the petrol tax structure and ensuring it is spent on roads on a per capita basis (so regions aren’t subsidising cities) etc.

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  89. swan (665 comments) says:

    “What is wrong with simplifying the petrol tax structure and ensuring it is spent on roads on a per capita basis (so regions aren’t subsidising cities) etc.”

    You dont get the value of being able to have pricing that varies depending on which road you are driving and when you are driving.

    As an aside – you realise its not the regions subsidising the cities right?

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  90. WineOh (630 comments) says:

    This seems expensive and unnessary with a clear ulterior motive of privacy encroachment.
    We already have multiple mechanisms to charge on a ‘user-pays’ basis:
    * Registration fees (fixed cost per vehicle)
    * Warrant of fitness (especially if kept 6-monthly, mileage based charge)
    * Petrol tax (though skews towards higher fuel consumption rather than pure distance)
    * RUC charges (currently diesel but could be expanded to petrol)

    Trust us, nothing could possibly go wrong with your personal information [cough-ACC-cough].

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  91. Spiritfree (79 comments) says:

    “so long as you deal with the privacy issue…” it never would be.

    Think, please. New Zealand has a lot of roads in rural areas. Yes, really! There are people living outside of the cities! And there are plenty of people who have very little money who live a long way from anywhere. If this proposal were ever to come into action, you might just as well evacuate those areas or hand them over to those with spare cash. In other words, it’s one of the stupidest ideas there is. In my opinion.

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  92. Mr_Blobby (173 comments) says:

    NO NO NO We need another TAX like we nedd another hole in our heads.

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  93. RossM (45 comments) says:

    >You could even have some roads cost more to use at various times.

    Especially around Hunter’s Corner after nightfall.

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  94. libertyscott (359 comments) says:

    As usual, journalists report twaddle. The continued lack of understanding about how GPS works is astonishing. It is a broadcast satellite. It can only track if it is matched to a map and in real time transmits locations by mobile phone network. No need for that to do road pricing.

    Distance based road pricing exists in New Zealand now, in electronic form, with RUC. A company called ERoads does it.

    The only “tracking” involved is those who choose the fleet management function the company offers.

    In all of the jurisdictions with distance based road pricing there is no “tracker”, rather a distance counter which switches on or off depending on whether it is a charged road (in Switzerland it goes off at borders, in Germany off on local roads, in Oregon the system being tested goes off at borders).

    It’s easy to protect privacy, just have a system that measures distance, adds up distance x vehicle type x road classification x time of day to spit out a price every month to take from an account.

    Then roads can be funded and charged on a commercial basis not a political basis. The potential advantages are enormous, but the Nats are uninterested, Labour doesn’t believe in economic efficiency and the Greens fear pricing roads will mean there isn’t a need to subsidise public transport anymore.

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