Road Tolls Jump The Gun

Auckland Mayor Candidate Mark Thomas is taking issue with Len Brown’s claim that road tolling in Auckland is ‘absolutely justified’.

“We know this is not true as fewer than a third of the Aucklanders who submitted on last year’s 10 year budget were convinced.

“27,000 Aucklanders submitted on the budget. Of the 13,700 of these who commented on the road pricing question only 34% clearly supported a motorway charge.”

Although additional funding will be essential to resolve Auckland’s transport log-jam, Aucklanders have told me they are skeptical of handing over even more money to Auckland Council.

Thomas says they are right to be. He has committed to finding savings across the council group by using his knowledge of council to reduce administration, support and other non-core council spending. He also wants to reduce the inefficiency and ‘gold-plating’ he sees in Auckland Transports ‘renewals’ or capital replacement budget of $300 million per year.

“I am confident this will produce additional funding to advance other key transport projects around the region including council’s share of the next phase of the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative (AMETI), Penlink, resolving Lake Road congestion, addressing future rail needs in the centre and out west, as well as southern transport pressures.

“This problem has been made worse by Len Brown who has actually reduced Auckland’s transport budget.”

Transport capital expenditure for 2015/16 is $620 million, down $113 million on the revised 2014/15 programme of $733 million.

Thomas notes the Mayor’s comment that he “can’t see any other way” than tolling Aucklanders, but that’s because he hasn’t listened closely enough to what Aucklanders have been telling him.

“I’ve spent all of last year listening to people about what they need. We need to get the Auckland Council house in better order before jumping to add further council costs onto Aucklanders.

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