Akl Council and Govt team up to solve transport woes
Auckland Mayor Len Brown and Transport Minister Simon Bridges back a new report released today that aims to solve the city's transport woes over the next 30 years.
The Foundation Report into the Auckland Transport Alignment Project is a bid to build unity between the Auckland Council and the Government over the development of Auckland transport.
"I think what this is about is helping us understand what our priorities are and getting certainty -- so we're trying to take the politics out of transport," says Mr Bridges.
"But by and large, what people want is, they want a roading system, a bussing system that work, that get them to their work, that gets them to their places of play. That's what we're about here."
Mr Bridges says the focus of development will be in outlying areas, south and west in particular.
The project, expected to run for a year, is a collaboration between Auckland Council, Ministry of Transport, Auckland Transport, the NZ Transport Agency, the Treasury and the State Services Commission.
Mayor Brown says Auckland's population is growing at 3 percent a year, or more than 800 new people a week.
Over the past two years, Auckland's economy has been growing at an extra $3 billion a year.
Although the project is not yet binding, and no legislation has been put in place, the council and government have vowed a "very strong moral commitment" between them. However, Mayor Brown says the project should be statutorily binding.
Mr Bridges says the Government does not prefer to impose future motorway tolls and petrol taxes, but "we remain open to possibilities because this is about getting the evidence and facts on the table and calmly assessing the options".
Mayor Brown says London eventually made a decision about a congestion charge, and now we have a similar challenge.
"My primary focus is about dealing with congestion, so on the basis that they are funding requirements the most important thing is, how would that impact on congestion?" says Mayor Brown.
He says the report provides an agreed set of facts and agreed range of projects which relate to timing and funding.
He says it will then "be down to us to agree the funding and timing for each of those", and another series of testing options will follow.
However, Mr Bridges says no-one is pretending that's going to be easy.
"That's a lot of work of…experts working through those things but in doing that we get rid of the bickering, the politics in this and we are able to do the best thing we can do for Auckland."