Auckland commuters react to proposed congestion charges. See full video at the PMN News YouTube channel.
Photo/ PMN News video screenshot
The proposed congestion charges have caused a stir from local communities and councillors.
Auckland drivers may need to dip into their pockets for congestion charges due a proposal by the local council.
Auckland Mayor Wayne Brown is proposing a charge of $3.50-$5 for travelling on State Highway 1 between Penrose and Greenlane and State Highway 16 between Lincoln Road and Te Atatū Road during peak times.
Auckland councillor Alf Filipaina says this could work, but a lot needs to be done first.
“There has to be some consultation with employers, there has to be consultation with our communities, especially those who are going to be affected.”
Auckland Council’s transport and infrastructure committee met on Thursday, and voted to create a team aimed at bringing in the changes by 2025.
Possible additional congestion charge zones to be added in the next 5 years. Photo/Auckland Council report
Councillor Josephine Bartley raised questions about the equity of putting charges in place.
“A lot of our communities from south and west that are coming into the city, they don’t have a choice of working from home, are in those low-skilled jobs, so wouldn’t be able to negotiate start times and finish times with their employers.
“It is going to be those on lower incomes who will be hit hardest by this.”
Bartley says locals near motorway entry points at Ellerslie and Greenlane also have concerns.
“Those areas are already congested, and we’re just going to add to it more if people are going to avoid the motorway and they’re just going to fill up the suburbs nearby.”
Speaking to Levi Matutia-Morgan on 531pi's Pacific Mornings, Filipaina warns the charges could just divert traffic to other areas.
“They're gonna use some of the other roads within Tāmaki Makaurau, they'll be then blocking those roads.
“Those people who have to go into town like the ports, it's going to cost them more money because they have to be on the road longer because they're diverting away from the congestion charges.”
Money, the driving factor
Filipaina says if the National government fulfils their campaign promise, the city needs to look at other ways of making up that financial loss for local roading projects.
“The incoming government has indicated that the regional fuel tax will be taken, which means the money that has been generated to help the transport system, that's going to be gone. “If that's the case, we will be losing millions of dollars that have been generated that gets targeted.”
Filipaina says he supports either one charge or the other, and Aucklanders shouldn’t be penalised twice.
“No way at all will I be supporting congestion charging and the regional fuel tax at the same time.
“Our community will be hit: cost of living, and with inflation and with the interest rates rising, I will be pushing that the congestion charging will be instead of, not with the regional field tax.”
The changes could come into effect by 2025 and then expanded.