Tolls good – but for new roads

The Herald reports:

Whether or not Aucklanders pay motorway tolls is a key factor in the city’s negotiations with the government over funding the City Rail Link (CRL). …

But while the government has confirmed it will fund half of the project and bring the business plan forward to allow work to start in 2018, it has not given Auckland a cast iron guarantee.

It still needed to work through some complex issues with the council, Key said.

“These include how the project costs will be finally shared… and how the Rail Link will be owned and managed,” he said.

Auckland Council wants to help fund its share of the new rail link which will run through the city’s CBD by introducing tolls on the region’s motorways.

But Key said the council had plenty of other options, including paying for it with rates or raising debt.

“We are lukewarm on (tolls), because in the end it reduces the available disposable income of Aucklanders and makes Auckland as a place to do business a little more expensive.” the Prime Minister said.

“We haven’t ruled those things out but we have said they absolutely need to justify them.”

I support tolls and congestion charges as a form of user pays. Those who get benefits from the roads should pay for them.

But they should generally be applied only to new roads. The toll or charge should fund the road that is being used.

Placing a toll on roads long ago paid for is a form of double taxation and unfair.

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