Stop asking Govt to pay for roads, business leader tells Auckland

An Auckland business leader is calling on the council to dip into its own pocket for transport initiatives.

A $2.6 billion cash injection has been announced for the city, following a report revealing the impact of congestion.

Michael Barnett, chief executive of the Auckland Regional Chamber of Commerce, says the council needs to stop relying so heavily on central Government.

"Auckland has a pretty strong balance sheet, and should be looking at making some further investment themselves to accelerate work," he told Newshub.

Auckland Council currently contributes around $600 million a year to transport initiatives.

Mr Michael Barnett says the council is in a position to buy into the work, and they should.

"You'd think they'd find ways, innovative ways, to be able to provide more funding to accelerate work that needs to be undertaken.

"They'll be able to do partnerships that will bring in more machinery, more workers, and strengthen their industry so they're ready to take on this wall of work that's available."

The problem is Auckland Council is near its debt ceiling of 265 percent debt-to-revenue.

"We welcome every step forward in the right direction that will enable Aucklanders to get around their own city without the current frustration of lost time and lost money," Mayor Phil Goff said on Friday.

"I'd always like it to have been done yesterday but I understand the wheels of Government move slowly."

Mr Barnett says it's unfair on the rest of the country if the Government's paying for the majority of projects.

The new projects include:

  • a four-lane highway at Mill Rd, to run alongside the southern motorway from Manukau to Papakura
  • extending electric rail from Papakura to Pukekohe
  • a third main rail line from Wiri to Otahuhu
  • various projects within the Auckland Manukau Eastern Transport Initiative.