Tolls are best

April 27th, 2013 at 2:00 pm by David Farrar

The Herald reports:

Aucklanders face paying to drive on city roads unless they are prepared to swallow hefty rates or fuel tax rises.

On Monday, an advisory group assembled by Mayor Len Brown is set to announce its recommended solutions to plug a $12 billion funding gap and fix the city’s ever-growing traffic jams.

The mayor says he will back whatever the “consensus-building” group recommends, even if that means tolling motorways or charging motorists to use arterial roads by 2021.

The principle is that users should pay for the costs of their . Hence tolls and/or congestion charges are my preferred approach.

Petrol tax is a form of user pays. It is imperfect, but much simpler to impose and collect. As technology gets better I’d like to see more congestion charges and toll roads and a lower level of petrol tax.

Rates are my least preferred method of funding transport projects. Motorists and public transport users should fund transport projects – not homeowners.

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20 Responses to “Tolls are best”

  1. Redbaiter (8,801 comments) says:

    How about we just stop urban liberal mothers from driving their kids to and from school every week day?

    (When the school is 150 metres down the road)

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  2. dog_eat_dog (780 comments) says:

    I am against congestion charging. I start early and finish early to specifically avoid congestion. There is simply no transport option that will get me near my office before I need to start work, so I have to drive. Why is it we keep hearing about making the realities most people face more expensive and very little about making the alternatives viable?

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  3. Lloyd (125 comments) says:

    As a motorcycle rider, I am naturally inclined to wish for quadruple taxes to apply to BMW X5, Porsche Cayenne and Audi Q5 drivers. All other non-farm 4wds just double.
    2 wheels good, 4 bad.

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  4. Lloyd (125 comments) says:

    Anyone tell me why BMW X5 drivers don’t or can’t look?
    Nope, thought not.

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  5. nickb (3,687 comments) says:

    You think petrol tax would be reduced to compensate for congestion charges? Seriously?

    I thought that was how our “right wing” government sold GST increases, yet I didn’t notice any extra in my pay packet. If I am wrong here then any “compensation” was obliterated by rampant price rises across the board.

    All I see here is a new tax.

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  6. dime (9,972 comments) says:

    “yet I didn’t notice any extra in my pay packet. ”

    really? im sure i got a tax cut…

    but yeah, i love how taxes are always the answer.

    how much does auckland kick into the govt’s coffers? how much do they spend on us? if we arent subsidising all these other shit towns then yeah, we should pay more for our roads.

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  7. Colville (2,268 comments) says:

    Lloyd. My 2.2 tonne 4wd will always win the battle against your rice burning pocket rocket.

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  8. seanmaitland (500 comments) says:

    @nickb – I noticed $100 per week extra in my pay packet when National got through. Every $200 our household spends on goods and services, we pay an extra $5 or so. Even those on minimum wage ($28,080 a year) got good gains, and would’ve had to spend more than they earn on goods and services to have had a net zero or negative change to their cashflow.

    Tsk tsk

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  9. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Instead of congestion charging, maybe Lenny could drop the policy of densification of the CBD. Then the CBD wouldn’t be as congested, since not as many people would live and work there.
    He could instead promote low density commercial estates that people can easily drive to, away from the CBD.

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  10. UrbanNeocolonialist (288 comments) says:

    Mandate that all children walk or cycle to school. Done in other countries, improves the fitness of the fat little bastards and takes a lot of distracted 4WD drivers off the road.

    A move to small commuting vehicles should be strongly encouraged too. Enclosed scooters are pretty good, and use of self balancing scooters like Lit motors C1 http://litmotors.com/c1/ would be safe, comfortable and would almost double the carrying capacity of roads and motorways.

    A small diameter underground system with side by side tunnels only about 1.5m diameter and people sitting in automated single file carriages would be much cheaper and faster to build than a system with conventional 4m diameter tunnels. And could be economically extended to more low population density locations.

    In some cases helicopters would make a lot of sense, particularly Auckland and Wellington with their geographical bottlenecks, and tricky geology. A 20km helicopter ride only takes 5 minutes, and carrying 20 people in something like a converted K-Max that makes it possible to do 5 return trips an hour for about $10 per person ($1000/hour cost), with a service that can do varied point-to-point operations and service a lot of places with a single machine and little infrastructure cost. London underground commuters are already paying almost that much to use the tube daily. Automated 1-person drone taxi-helicopters would give ultimate versatility, and could be really cheap, relatively quiet compared to big ones, and technically feasible within a few years.

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  11. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    Mandate that all children walk or cycle to school.

    That’s not always feasable, a blanket ban does not take the weather and personal and family circumstances. It certainly makes sense to get your kids to walk to school if they can, but that ability depends on many things, not least of which is safety of the child.

    A small diameter underground system with side by side tunnels only about 1.5m diameter and people sitting in automated single file carriages would be much cheaper and faster to build than a system with conventional 4m diameter tunnels.

    Maybe. The amount of rock moved will certainly be less, but the geology is still the same and they will still need the same amount of geotechnical work. It’s also pretty difficult to find a road header that will fit in a 1.5 m diameter tunnel, and you still have to have services for the tunnel (drainage, lights, emergency exits etc) go somewhere.

    use of self balancing scooters like Lit motors C1 http://litmotors.com/c1/ would be safe, comfortable and would almost double the carrying capacity of roads and motorways.

    I’d rather be in a car and have a nice steel safety cage around me in the event of an accident.

    In some cases helicopters would make a lot of sense, particularly Auckland and Wellington with their geographical bottlenecks, and tricky geology.

    At $400k a pop for an R22 (the cheapest helicopter on the market), I think that idea might be out of reach for most people.

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  12. edhunter (546 comments) says:

    Having recently moved to the GC I was appalled at the number of toll roads that are spread all over the place.
    After a couple of attempts at circumnavigating them I’ve quickly come to the conclusion they are a necessary evil & are in fact not really all that evil.
    Don’t agree with a congestion tax especially in Auckland. When all roads basically lead to or through the CBD regardless if that’s your destination or not you’re stuffed.

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  13. peterwn (3,271 comments) says:

    I suspect Len would like to collect tolls on ‘through’ traffic (eg Pokeno – Wellsford or beyond). Any vehicle on SH1 passing through Auckland City within say 2 hours should not need to pay any toll for Auckland City roads or other transport works (eg trains).

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  14. emmess (1,428 comments) says:

    Remember all the shit Maurice Williamson got in for suggesting tolls a few years back? Will the same be the case for Len Brown?

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  15. kowtow (8,439 comments) says:

    Pedestrians use roads too,toll them.

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  16. Nigel Kearney (1,012 comments) says:

    I think you have it backwards. If lots of people are using the same road, they are paying a lot of petrol tax relative to the cost of the roads they use. It is the people out in the country with long stretches of road that are hardly used that are not paying their share.

    If it was truly user pays, the cost of each mile of road would be divided evenly among those who use it. Rural areas would pay a lot more and a lot of those country roads would be dirt tracks. City dwellers would pay less than they pay now, not more. I’m not suggesting this would be a good idea, but slapping yet another tax on urban car users is definitely not the answer.

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  17. berend (1,708 comments) says:

    The problem is that whatever we use, the money won’t be used on what we’re paying for: Len will use the road tolls to pay for public transport. That’s the problem. It’s simply another tax.

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  18. gazzmaniac (2,307 comments) says:

    edhunter – if you’re like me you’ll soon realise that it’s cheaper to use the nice, free flowing toll road than the congested city streets in Brisbane.
    It’s also great that you only have tolls when you go to Brisbane; the roads are better at the GC and are free!

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  19. gump (1,647 comments) says:

    I don’t see why it shouldn’t be funded through council rates.

    If you want to own property in the big smoke, you should be required to pay for its running costs.

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  20. Pita (373 comments) says:

    A road toll? The corporates will no doubt pay their staff’s expense…I feel an FBT coming on.

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