Simon Bridges announced:
Mr Bridges says it has found that achieving a step change in the performance of Auckland’s transport system will require a range of interventions.
“It concludes that while ongoing investment in new road and public transport projects will clearly be needed, greater use of technology and in the longer term, road pricing – or directly charging for road use, will also be part of the toolkit,” he says.
“The final stage of ATAP will look at what additional projects could be brought forward in the next ten years to support Auckland’s growth. If the benefits of early investment in these projects are significant, there may be a case for the Government and Council to make extra funding available,” Mr Bridges says.
Exactly how that funding could be provided would need to be considered after ATAP provides its final report.
“Auckland will need to accommodate an expected 700,000 additional people over the next 30 years. The emerging approach indicates a need to focus on ensuring transport enables and supports this growth, particularly through early investment in new growth areas in the north-west, north, and south of Auckland,” Mr English says.
“The approach also looks to better target investment to strengthen strategic road, rail, and public transport connections, as well as ensuring we’re making the most of the existing network,” he says.
Mr Bridges says the potential opportunities from current and future technology are exciting.
“ATAP is finding that by embracing intelligent transport systems early, we can position Auckland to make the most of any future benefits from connected and shared vehicles. Technology could also enable a progressive move towards road pricing.
There’s a lot of detail in the report dealing with both supply and demand issues. On the supply side it identifies further investment needed in roads, busways and rail.
On the demand side it says that network pricing should be considered, which is basically congestion charging. It means that you might pay to use certain network corridors, and pay more if using them at peak times.
I strongly support this. It is user pays. At the moment we have indirect user pays through petrol tax and licence fees. But the future will be and should be a more direct link between the roads you use and the amount you pay.
What is important is this is not used just to increase revenue for the consolidated fund. But as I understand it any transport revenue will remain dedicated for transport, and if direct charges come in, then indirect charges (petrol tax) may reduce.
This will be many years off, but it is good to see the Government moving in this direction.