Congestion charges back on agenda

The Herald reports on the possibility of congestion charges being introduced to get Aucklanders out of their cars.  It is however acknowledged that such a scheme would not work without providing viable transport alternatives.  Mathew Dearnaley writes:

A report to the regional council’s transport committee yesterday said an assessment of various strategic options for encouraging greater use of public transport concluded that “congestion pricing” had the potential to make a significant contribution to achieving national policy targets.

It added a strong caveat, saying the concept was not feasible without offering motorists realistic travel options, particularly in terms of public transport services.

Careful consideration of “equity issues” would be needed, the report said.

But that was not enough to allay fears of several councillors, including chairman Mike Lee, that even the mere mention of the idea in the strategy risked helping it gain momentum which may be difficult to stop.

Mr Lee said certain “vested interests” were working behind the scenes on a concept that would deliver revenue to the private sector at the expense of working people who would have to pay more to travel to their jobs in the absence of public transport of an international standard.

Strategic policy committee chief Paul Walbran is also of that view that:

Overseas cities where road charges had been introduced had public transport infrastructure “orders of magnitude better than ours”, and the concept would be neither fair nor sustainable for Aucklanders.

For the full article, click here.

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