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Toll roads part of Auckland's future

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 21/06/2016
Transport Minister Simon Bridges © Getty Images Transport Minister Simon Bridges

Charging Auckland's motorists to use roads is a key part of a long-term plan to develop the city's transport system.

The government and Auckland Council have set out what they call their "preliminary views" in a report released on Tuesday.

It's the second in a series of three reports on the joint Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) which examines the city's needs, and how to meet them, for the next 30 years.

"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," Transport Minister Simon Bridges said.

"Auckland will need to accommodate an expected 700,000 additional people over the next 30 years."

Mayor Len Brown says transport projects have a long lead-in time and must be funded and built now.

"We can't build them after people arrive, that would be a recipe for a choked and economically stunted Auckland," he said.

"ATAP shows road pricing, where road users pay to use parts of the network, particularly during peak traffic periods, is an important part of the solution."

Mr Brown says the council has already carried out extensive consultation on road pricing, and will need to consider it because the current interim transport levy, paid by all businesses and residential properties, expires in 2018.

The final ATAP report, due later this year, will look at what projects can be brought forward.

"If the benefits of early investment in these projects are significant, there may be a case for the government and the council to make extra funding available," Mr Bridges said.

"Technology could also enable a progressive move towards road pricing."

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