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Why is Len talking tolls again

Two weeks ago John Key confirmed that the government would cover half of the costs of the City Rail Link and allow for main works to start in 2018. Immediately questions began about how the Auckland Council would cover its share of the expected $2.5 billion cost. Equally quickly Mayor Len Brown was once again raising the issue of road tolling, suggesting it was needed to pay for it.

The government confirmed yesterday it would pay about half the cost of the project, allowing work on part of the project involving a tunnelling machine to begin earlier in 2018.

Mayor Len Brown believes he has the backing of most Aucklanders to introduce higher road taxes and impose tolls to pay for the city’s half of the bill.

But Mr Brown told Morning Report road tolls were part of a range of transport funding options, and in the long term could not be overlooked.

“We know that we don’t have enough money through rates and borrowings, even if we sold things like the airport shares or the port shares, it’s still not enough.

“It is a critical issue with the growth of the city with the transport investment needs that we have and the City Rail Link in the end, with the $65 billion we’ve got to spend over the next 30 years, is only a small part of it.”

Mr Brown said he could not see any other way of raising extra revenue than with a motorway toll.

Quite why Len is suddenly raising the issue of road tolls again is odd for a few reasons.

Long Term Plan

Last year the council spent a lot of effort discussing the Long Term Plan – the 10-year budget. As part of that process they presented Aucklanders with a binary choice of either a programme of works that would build:

  • a basic version funded out of rate rises of 3.5% but that built very little over the coming decades.
  • almost every transport project ever dreamed up requiring lots of additional funding and still saw congestion predicted to get worse than it is today. To pay for the up to $12 billion extra that would be needed the council proposed either:
    • road pricing on motorways
    • a combination of additional rates increases and regional fuel taxes

The important thing though is that both versions of the transport plan included the funding for the City Rail Link. That means the project was never subject to the alternative funding options like Len is suggesting now.

LTP Basic vs AP networks

To realise either of funding options for the Auckland Plan option it would have required government approval and that didn’t happen. So instead the council ended up implementing a three-year interim transport levy of $99 for households and $159 for businesses with the money from it earmarked primarily for PT, walking and cycling projects. There is absolutely no reason why the transport levy couldn’t be continued in to the future which is enough to effectively fund a sensible middle option of something between the two original LTP transport plans.

Just coming back to the CRL, the council’s own LTP documents show the project already has funding budgeted for it over the next decade. It includes the expected contribution from the government – which the council correctly assumed would be on board by then.

LTP approved capital projects list

click to enlarge

ATAP

As you know the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) is currently going on and is reviewing options and timings for future transport projects in Auckland (the CRL and East-West link sat outside of this). In the Terms of Reference it specifically mentions road pricing, saying they will consider (I’ve underlined the important part)

all land transport interventions, including roads, rail, public transport, personal mobility services, walking, cycling, technology, network optimisation and demand management (including pricing for demand management purposes)

In other words, as part of the process they’re looking at what impact road pricing could have but not as a revenue gathering tool like Len wants but as a demand management one. The distinction between the two are important and would likely lead to quite different looking systems. As the name implies a demand management tool is really about trying to optimise the use of transport networks we have by using road pricing to keep roads from becoming congested. We’ve long suggested that if implemented it should be introduced in a revenue neutral way, lowering rates by the amount raised from the road pricing. In our view doing it this way would separate a potentially very useful tool from the more politically fraught issue of raising more money as by tying the two together it’s more likely neither will happen.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of road pricing is that it changes the question from how much traffic do we need to accommodate to how much do we want to accommodate. With it, it will almost certainly change the priority of many projects and it would kill off many projects altogether. For example, spending billions to widen or duplicate a motorway because an (unreliable) traffic model says vehicle volumes will increase in the future likely becomes a thing of the past. Every silly project that is no longer needed means a less extra funding that needs to be raised, easing pressure on Aucklanders and the government.

Of course to really implement road pricing we really need a much more complete range of good quality alternative options but if we know we’re going to do it in the future it should allow us to prioritise what is needed before that happens.

 

In conclusion, the council’s plans have the CRL clearly in the budget even if we had stuck with the no additional funding option. As such it seems that Len was perhaps trying to reignite the debate about road tolls from last year in a bit to push once again for a more build everything approach. But given the ATAP process is well under-way it seems the best option right now is to wait and see what comes from that.  The only other option for why he would suggest it is perhaps to keep the idea in the government’s head so they know the issue hasn’t gone away.

61 comments to Why is Len talking tolls again

  • RB

    If Len thinks he has the support of the majority to introduce road tolls he is nuts. The survey he used to come to this conclusion was a ‘Hobson’s choice’ one. There was no option to say no. The choices from memory were higher rates or road tolls. He is being dishonest. If there had been an option for ‘neither’ that would have been the clear winner.

    • JBM

      The option of “neither” is a cop out. That is the reason Auckland is in this traffic mess in the first place.

    • Rich

      It would be totally absurd to offer a ‘no development’ option for supporting Auckland’s growth. Laughable.

      • Stefan

        It’s not about no development, it’s where you find the money from. There are many of us who would cut many unnecessary council programs to provide extra money for infrastructure. There are others who would sell assets to provide money for infrastructure. There are lots of ways other than tolls, but this was not given as an option on their survey

        • Greg N

          I don’t recall the option being asked about should council invest in Lotto tickets either.

          You can’t ask every possible option in such questions.

          Selling off the assets is the lazy short term option, We need to use the assets we have, but smarter and better, not just by selling them. That what smart councils and mayors do.

          • Stefan

            But you need to give options that people may want, even when they disagree with your political views. I don’t know anyone who was happy with the options that were presented. It had a very political bias. It wasn’t a survey to find out the democratic wishes of the people, it was a survey to confirm the direction of the Council already wants to go in. You may not wish to have asset sales, that’s fine, there are plenty of people who do, as well is plenty of people who don’t but it’s one of the ways that we can solve the problems that we have, problems in part created by the current council since debt has doubled under Brown. The solutions that were presented are not representative of how substantial proportion of the Auckland community want to solve that problem, so is in fact not representative of how people want to solve the problem.

  • Brian

    But City Rail Link is in the Basic programme so didn’t require the Transport levy or the tolls to be funded. What the heck is Len on about, does he not know his own budget?

  • Millahab

    I don’t see what is wrong with tolls – if it is a form of pricing to regulate demand.

    This is an interesting recent contribution to taxes/tolls:

    http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article/why-better-urban-planning-wont-reduce-traffic/

    • Peter Nunns

      Great article… I’ve added it to our Sunday reading post to get it in wider circulation!

    • Greg N

      Good article.
      And to take to the extreme, if we were to treble the density of Auckland as it stands in fell swoop, it would at best reduce driving congestion by 30%.
      Thats a major change of city wide density right there that would take decades to implement.
      We could get nearly as dramatic an effect just by putting a travel demand price on and do it next year (or next week if we really wanted to).

      Of course we’d still to densify the city anyway to fit more of the upcoming population in, but just densifying the city on its own will take longer to achieve the same sort of effect as a proper road travel demand price could achieve more now.

      • Matthew W

        Exactly. Of course pricing roads properly will incentivize density. Or more correctly, underpricing peak time travel incentivizes sprawl.

      • Angus Robertson

        That’s a major change of city wide density right there that would take decades to implement.

        No, about 5 – 10 years. It is what has happened in Australia over the last 6 years. They have added sprawl and surged upwards faster than ever before, transformative development has occurred.

        Only in Auckland does anyone talk in terms of a lifetime.

        • Greg N

          Yeah right, triple density across the while city in 5-10 years?

          Christchurch couldn’t manage a rebuild of their housing stock and that was about 15,000 houses that needed completely rebuilding in 5 years and might get there in that time.

          Auckland? Even with apartments for Africa, would still need decades. And in any case, how would you manage/reduce the traffic congestion all those tradies and construction workers would cause?
          Thats right, congestion charging.

          Rome wasn’t built in a day for a good reason – and its how come it mostly didn’t fall down that quickly either.

    • mfwic

      It is actually worse than that as you focus everybody into congested areas. Those who would have used PT and those who cant use it due not having a destination or trip that can easily be done on PT. More land use choice lets people sort themselves out, those who have a viable PT trip will pay to live near a station, those who dont have a viable PT option won’t pay extra for that location.

  • Don

    Len wishes to use the money to reduce Auckland Council debt. He has borrowed so much to date, that the interest bill is beginning to grate on him and any successor. Nothing to do about transport, all about reducing debt.

  • I don’t know anything about cars, but… won’t motorway tolls push drivers on to the surface roads, which will be harder and more expensive to maintain in the long run?

  • Alan J

    After the fact tolling of something that is funded from general taxation elsewhere in the country isn’t going to fly politically, even though a solid case can be made for it. no government will ever sign off on it

    Needs to be funded via rates / borrowing / fuel surchgarge

    • Mr Plod

      Errh? So what are the congestion charges In London and other cities? Nothing more that after the fact road tolls. It’s all in the name.
      And to see the impact Google “cycling boom London the guardian”.

    • Peter Nunns

      I’d actually think the opposite. Most MPs come from outside of Auckland, after all, and I suspect that it would be easy to sell them on the message that if Auckland has distinctive transport requirements, it should also have distinctive funding / management options.

      However, giving Auckland its own funding sources would mean that central government would have to give up some control of what happens with the city’s transport networks. For some reason they seem unwilling to do that.

      • Alan J

        Elections are won and lost in Auckland, as it trends towards 40% of the national population is this only going to become more apparent.

        Our politics aren’t mature enough to make the transition just now

    • Matthew W

      Alan,

      It isnt funded by general taxation, it is funded by a fuel tax. So you make road pricing a national thing, or you reduce fuel tax in Auckland only. The latter will have some implementation issues, but I cant see it being insurmountable.

  • Alan J

    btw, really poor UX on the eastern line today. Rush hour train cancelled, stood on the platform at Panmure for 19 minutes then had an already packed 3 car emu pull up.

    Think people were left on the platform from Meadowbank onwards. Just not acceptable at this time of year.

  • Nick

    His quote is a bit garbled, but it doesn’t actually sound to me like he’s saying we need tolls to pay for the CRL. He’s just saying Auckland will need to spend a load of money on transport projects over the next 30 years, things like the CRL, and we’ll need to look at other options like tolls for paying for all of it.

  • Peter Nunns

    Great post Matt. Although congestion pricing is not a requirement to fund the CRL, it’s good to keep it in view as an important option for managing transport networks. I’m glad that ATAP’s been taking a careful look at it… although I would also observe that congestion pricing for Auckland has already been studied two or three times in the last decade.

  • Matthew W

    “Of course to really implement road pricing we really need a much more complete range of good quality alternative options”

    I know I must sound like a broken record, but I don’t know why you guys keep repeating this line. I mean, with respect to cycling I would agree (this is just an issue of repurposing), but road pricing would actually enable that repurposing. As for needing to build alternative transport corridors in advance of road pricing, you are missing the point you yourself seem to be making – road pricing drastically reduces the need for additional infrastructure.

    Otherwise agreed on the post.

    • Ben W

      That is a really good point. I think the issue here is one of fairness. Road pricing may have a strong economic justification, but it does impose costs on those who are unable to change their travel behaviour (either because of their travel needs, or because P.T isn’t a viable option). There will be some in that category who don’t have much spare income to meet those costs, so it will be pretty tough on them. Probably not a showstopper like you say, but it is something we need to consider in the analysis and implementation of any such scheme.

      There’s also the issue of the surge in demand for alternative transport that will occur when road pricing is implemented. Given the current capacity problems on many of our existing P.T. services this will need serious consideration before any road pricing is implemented.

      • Thank you for acknowledging the equity implications. Any comprehensive charging plan would need to be accompanied by subsidies for the group of people who cannot simply change their behaviour – including disabled citizens not served by accessible public transit.

    • Peter Nunns

      I’ve previously advocated for revenue-neutral congestion pricing but I’m currently wondering whether I should rethink that position. The presence of distortions in labour markets (taxes, agglomeration economies) makes the social cost-benefit calculus a bit more difficult. In that context, perhaps it’s not such a bad idea to use the revenues to enhance mobility, particularly on non-congestable networks.

      Of course, one issue that a comprehensive system of congestion pricing would sort out is whether our transport system is over-built, under-built, or about right. If toll revenues are consistently smaller than the cost of maintaining existing roads and adding capacity, then it would suggest that we have previously over-built. And vice versa.

      • Ben W

        Revenue-neutral schemes are probably easier to sell to the public, but are they the best way to go about road pricing? My understanding is that it’s preferable to funnel surplus funds from road pricing into alternative transport modes, which helps ameliorate the equity issues of road pricing (particularly for those at the lower end of the income scale, since they’re more likely to be taking alternative transport in the first place).

      • Matthew W

        On your first point. I’m not an economist so don’t really understand fully what your getting at, but I agree if agglomeration benefits are really an externality then some form of subsidy could be applied. I find it hard to believe most of these benefits wouldnt be captured by labour market / transport prices / land values though. Even if it is a real externality I wonder whether it would be better to apply this to houses or transport. If transport, how do you subsidize active modes?

        In response to Ben and Sacha as well, I agree the losers of such a situation need to be considered. What I would say is that, firstly we have losers in the current system – the costs of goods, rates and taxes are higher than they otherwise would need to be – this will affect people. So a lot of poorer people will benefit from this change. Secondly, while we should look to compensate the losers, this does not to be in the form of building transport infrastructure they may or may not want to use, it can be in the form of cash. Also I dont see all the losers are going to be equally deserving, and as a rule poorer people (and disabled people) are going to be more deserving/ in need of transfers regardless of their particular situations. So by all means we should redistribute the surplus from implementing road pricing, but I am not convinced this should not be on an income/needs basis generally.

        On your second point Peter – totally agreed! We will finally get to see some revealed preference rather than basing things on surveys assumptions etc.

        • Peter Nunns

          Income taxes might actually be an important sticking point. Income taxes create a disincentive to work more, with the result that the level of labour force participation that is optimal for individuals may be less than the socially optimal level. (This disincentive appears to be slight under current policy settings – NZ has a quite high labour force participation rate. Nonetheless.) Congestion pricing would raise the monetary cost of going to work, which might discourage some people from working at all and thus impose additional social deadweight costs.

          In this context, it’s reasonable to look for ways of offsetting any disincentive to work created by congestion pricing. However, in doing so it’s important to note that there is still a tension between equity and efficiency – lump-sum redistribution of revenues would look pretty good on the equity front, but it could in fact strengthen disincentives to work.

          • Matthew W

            So what you are saying is subsidising transport is potentially a good way of countering the deadweight loss of income taxes in the labour market? Because congestion pricing, if it reflects the actual marginal cost, is not a distortion and can’t be counted as part of the tax wedge. Even if this is correct, I think this is a bit simplistic – congestion pricing raises the cost of going to work at peak times by car. It wont likely raise the cost of going to work by bus as the bus network will be so much more efficient. It wont likely raise the cost of travelling off peak to work. And even though it raises the monetary cost of travelling to work at peak times by car it lowers the cost in time. I am struggling to see a scenario where we would be better off using the surplus from road pricing to build infrastructure to subsidise working, rather than just using it to lower marginal tax rates. Building transport infra seems to be a very blunt method.

            Sure redistributionist policies can in theory lower labour force participation – but this hasn’t stopped us in the past and there are ways of getting around that if we decide its an issue (negative tax rates for example).

      • Jamie Walton

        [The below is supposed to be a reply to Peter Nunns comment at 10:08 am above, but it didn’t get put there:}

        Re. para. 1: this is what I call “Non-User Pays” – whereby a really first-class, fare-free PT system is provided, and funded by those who choose not to use it and inefficiently occupy space on roads instead (I ran the idea by a planning bureaucrat in Melbourne about 15 years ago, but they didn’t like it, said it was “picking winners” – but what public policy doesn’t have some winners? (and wouldn’t it be a nice change for the PT users to be the winners for once?)).

        Re. para. 2: “If toll revenues are consistently smaller than the cost of maintaining existing roads and adding capacity, then it would suggest that we have previously over-built.” – or, possibly, the tolls might be set too low?

  • Greg N

    I think Len is playing a long(er) game than just CRL, that figure quoted $65b over the next 30 years, is just a tad under $2.2b a year of transport related spending thats needed.

    To put that in perspective, thats the equivalent of Auckland Council fully funding by itself, the building of a CRL sized project each and every year from now to 2046.

    You simply need a different approach, else the mountain of traffic will swamp the city. Because we’ve done all that big spending relentlessly over the last 30-40 years and haven’t got rid of the traffic yet, have we?

    When we look to the past, for inspiration – we can find one from the “Greenies” of the 60s/70s – those weird folks who introduced “recyling” to the masses.

    The actual “recycle” concept is a virtuous circle that runs like this: “Reduce”, “Re-use”, “Recycle”. Everyone skips straight to the recycle bit, thinking thats job done. But recycle is actually the last step.

    The the first step in this circle is actually not recycle but reduce what you use – in this case reduce the demand placed on the roads in the first place this reduces the need to build more roads.

    Then you re-use what you road space you have – re-allocate the road space better) – example: taking lanes and adding cycle and bus lanes instead to move more people not more cars over the same roads.

    And lastly when you/if you need to, you can “recycle” the roads to something else – example: The Lightpath, which is a recycled (pun intended) roadway.

    Practically the only option to to use Demand Pricing to “reduce” demand. Putting a price on the trips currently done for free makes people automatically reduce the unneeded trips that they make now.
    Which if left to grow will constrain other economically important trips others are making.

    And this is where the point about keeping roads clear for truckies and tradies comes from – those guys are generally agreed as doing something economically important.
    Cruising around the block 3 times looking for a car park and holding everyone else up as you do so? Not so much.

    A fuel tax is not so effective because it makes driving more expensive for everyone – including those truckies and tradies [and thus you and me via their charges].

    Without being able to do fuel taxes or demand pricing – AT has gone for the middle ground, it can control, and put up parking charges in the CBD.
    They’ve been using parking as a stalking horse for Demand Pricing (of sorts), but that only works in CBD areas.

    A city-wide scheme is needed, because its more than just the CBD that has congestion these days, and the costs of trying to fix that now seems to have a entry price of $1-2B per-project as evidenced by the East/West motorway, AMETI etc.

    Thats the real reason I think, to explain what Len is up to.

    But regardless of the perceived oddity of Len raising it now, its an important and timely topic.

    • Matthew W

      The problem is – if Len Brown has demand management in mind, he isn’t saying that, he is trying to sell it as a revenue raising measure. AKA a tax. A tax that is designed to change behavior is likely to be noticed by the goose when plucked. So kind of goes against Colbert’s wisdom.

      • Greg N

        Yes, but thats the point, if its doesn’t “hurt” then there will be no behaviour changes caused.

        I think Brown is calling a spade a spade, not trying to hide what is. And good on him for being honest enough to say so.

        • Matthew W

          I agree, but if you sell it as being revenue neutral then you get to point out it isn’t just another tax, and in aggregate we are all winners. And at the individual level most people will be better off.

          To be perfectly honest I wonder if our politicians are even aware of the concept of revenue neutral road pricing. Their focus is always on how to get more money for a neverending list of megaprojects.

          • Greg N

            I think it is (being sold as) implicitly revenue neutral, but not for instance by saying directly “we pay this congestion charge here and we all get more buses here – so you’ll get a faster trip tomorrow”.

            The problem is the punters [car driving ratepayers] want more roads because, well, thats what they have been told you must have more of to “fix the traffic”.

            So taxing roads and not providing “more” roads [either more lanes on this road, or on another road or even better – a brand new road somewhere else altogether] in return, is the rub that motorists see as the issue.

            Without realising that a proper bus lane can carry lanes and lanes of traffic freeing up your lanes with less traffic.

            So, if the punters don’t get more roads they feel ripped off. and how do you change that perception that more roads does not equal better, when Central gov’t is pushing the message or more roads all the time.

    • Bruce

      “To put that in perspective, thats the equivalent of Auckland Council fully funding by itself, the building of a CRL sized project each and every year from now to 2046.”
      Is that all for new projects or is a lot of that maintenance/replacement of existing infrastructure?
      If that is for new projects then wow! That would be Airport Rail, North Shore Rail, Isthmus LR, Western Busway, Penlink, NEX extension….and that would leave over $50B for other things! Not sure if the NIMT 3rd main would come out of AT or KR budget.

      • Greg N

        Existing stuff is paid by rates (AT gets fair chunk of rates revenue to do new stuff and maintain old stuff, then spends a chunk of that on maintenance).
        Local roads (arterials only?) are funded 50:50 with Government for maintenance. So AT only covers half that burden from rates.

        As for the $65B, yes its a big spend, figure a fair chunk on maintenance (say $20B), thats still $45B for new stuff. Makes CRL look like a minnow in comparison.

        Yet a lot of that money will get spent on MOAR ROADZ PROJECTZ without anywhere much ballyhoo as we had for CRL in recent years – and CRL represents about 4% (1/25th) of that total figure.

      • Jeremy

        From memory at least half of it was for maintenance and renewals, as Matt L has mentioned it is an all or nothing figure which includes an additional harbour crossing.

    • Jeremy

      From NBR:
      “I believe we can [justify it] because we do so on the basis there is a price for congestion,” he said. “London introduced congestion charges, Singapore did and that has worked very well as a ‘de-congester’,” he said.

      Mr Brown said the council could meet its half of the CRL bill primarily through user charges and its balance sheet as the project is being built over four to five years.

      I agree Len Brown is aware of the longer game, and the “shortfall” should have reduced since Govt announcements.

      • Greg N

        Shortfall reduced?

        Not necessarily, because if you take East/West for example, while NZTA may fund the “motorway to motorway” (SH1 to SH20) portion, all the local roads stuff is still design and built (thus borne) by AT, now some of that will be paid 50% by NZTA but not all of it.
        And a lot of the spending needed to support East/West will come from ATs not NZTAs pocket.

        So while the Government may “giveth with one hand” they also tend to “taketh more than they giveth with the other”.

        And yes Auckland Council side of CRL is “allocated funding” from existing budget plans, so thats why they’re funding/doing the CRL enablement works Downtown now – all by themselves.

  • Joyce http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201787084
    If motorways are tolled, motorways are owned by all of NZ, toll money should belong to all of NZ, not just Aucklanders.

    Len http://www.radionz.co.nz/audio/player/201787100
    “We’ve already got within our 10 year budget costings for the early part of CRL, so our side of it is covered through the next 10 years”
    “We are looking to alternate funding sources for transport, not just for CRL but for next 20-30 years worth of rail, bus, ferry, and car”
    “Transport alignment project”, “transport agreement for Auckland for next 20-30 years” “got to find a way to” “sustainably fund” “$65B over next 30 years”
    “If not a road toll would need to look at extra forms of funding”
    “Increase rates, regional petrol tax or motorway toll”
    “Don’t have enough money from rates, borrowings, even if we sold port shares, airport shares, its still not enough”
    “Cannot see any other way in terms of helping to decongest and in raising extra revenue but with a motorway toll. London have done it with their congestion charge and Singapore have done it with their congestion charge and all modern cities, every..”
    “we’ve got to invest in all of our transport (upgrades?), economy is growing at over 4% p.a. now”

    So clearly Len is talking congestion charging to fund the projects contained within the ATAP, not CRL.

    • I don’t get Joyce’s logic, but the governance issue and who controls the cash will be the sticking point for tolls.

      With petrol prices so low, a regional fuel tax should be back on the table.

      But first we need some control over what projects actually get funded and built in the first place, preferably based on a cost-benefit approach. Having a massive budget for transport projects will be the worst thing for Auckland if the wrong stuff gets built.

    • Greg N

      I think Joyce erroneously assumes that the motorways themselves will be tolled.

      I think the plan is toll the on/off ramps – i.e. Auckland Transport controlled roads, not the NZTA owned motorways. As such Government can’t claim 100% of the revenue from those roads, as at best 50% were paid by NZ Inc taxes.
      The rest were paid by Auckland ratepayers.

      “Tolling the motorways” sounds nice and simple but if not done properly it could cause people to simply hop off the motorway to avoid the toll gantries sporadically placed along its length them get back on it again.
      Causing the opposite of reducing congestion on local roads.

      • Brendan

        Who owns the on ramps? NZTA or AT?

        I was told that the reason why the Beaumont St pedestrian crossings take up to 5 minutes to get across Fanshawe St is because NZTA control that intersection/on ramps, not AT.

      • Stu Donovan

        it’s a bit of a grey area. I think NZTA control the first intersection off a motorway, hence your Beaumont example. I’m not sure if that means they necessarily own the land though.

        Either way, my understanding is that AC can’t just start charging drivers without enabling legislation from central government, so “ownership” is not a show-stopper.

        • If the issue is ownership, and I don’t think it is, then NZTA can pay rates like everyone else on the land it occupies, for ‘all of NZ’. The opportunity cost of hosting their massive roads are a massive loss for the local authority. All a bit cray, but then no nuttier than the govt. adding gst to the transport level, and that not even being targeted to the area. Taxes on taxes.

          • Jamie Walton

            +1000

            (and charging rates on central government-occupied land is not cray, it compensates local government for loss of rates revenue from the displaced and other possible alternative land uses – as you said so well yourself)

  • Angus Robertson

    Why is Len talking tolls again?

    With an election this year, council want to shift some blame on rate rises.

  • Anabel

    Toll roads was always the plan, get the public in debt and let the corporation profit.
    This is the govt MO. it is governed by foreign interests.
    Toll roads were the plan but to get all the unneeded expensive roading done the public were not told how it would cost them.

  • I remember the Key SToN speech, Len’s interview, Key’s Interview and Joyce’s interview.

    Key has basically said Road Tolling will happen – most likely after 2017 when he doesnt need to worry about another election himself.

    Len has pretty much said the same although muddled the reason for the tolls for reasons I believe Peter and Greg have stated above.

    Joyce basically said cold day in hell but hey he said that about the CRL and ummm yeah look now. Also given Joyce effectively derided his own leader in public (then again Key did that yesterday with Steven Little) I wonder if a reprimand happened.

    And even old Quax himself has said yes to tolls as a demand management tool. Yes QUAX!

    The CRL is covered in the LTP and subsequent Annual Plans so the question does go to where will the toll money actually end up?
    Airport Rail
    North Shore Line
    Inter City rail seeming that came back up again yesterday
    North West Bus Way
    Botany Line

    Long story short: Watch Key and his language. He is “lukewarm” now with tolling as he was with the CRL, given businesses kicked Key up the backside for the CRL and are doing so now with tolls it will be a case of watch this space.

  • Grant

    Who ever owns what land/roads and whether it’s designed for raising revenue or regulating demand, just do it. Would sure dampen demand. Easiest version to implement that you “might” get away with is just do the morning peak into/through the CBD on the motorway itself at strategic points of heading north on southern motorway on the Newmarket viaduct, heading east after Western Springs and heading south on Harbour Bridge. Set double toll at say $4 instead of $2. (if you drive in/through pretty likely to do the same at end of the day in reverse?). If wouldn’t save much in setup/operating costs, do same spots for reverse commute. Is anyone going to bother avoiding a small toll to crawl through a already congested city street?

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