The first road to be funded by Auckland's Regional Fuel Tax

It's been two months since Auckland Transport's Regional Fuel Tax was introduced, and the first project to be funded by it sits on the outskirts of the city. 

The $62 million Matakana Link Rd in Warkworth aims to reduce traffic at a congestion point on State Highway One. It will bring the Matakana road on to the state highway, north of the Warkworth Showground. 

With Warkworth and the surrounding area projected to account for 30 percent of Auckland's growth by 2050, there are some who doubt the new two-lane road will be enough to cope with the region's population boom.  

But Auckland Transport chief executive Shane Ellison says there's no need for concern, telling Newshub the road will be built "future-proof" in that Auckland Transport will be able to add to it if need be. 

"The Matakana Link Rd is an exciting project for those around Warkworth and Matakana. It's an area - which everybody knows - has been growing in terms of population and in terms of housing," he said. 

"We've recently updated the growth projections for that area and what we've seen is that it won't quite be as quick as what everybody anticipates. But nevertheless, we're going to build the road so that it's future-proofed for four lanes."

One of three concept design drawings for the Matakana Link Rd project.
One of three concept design drawings for the Matakana Link Rd project. Photo credit: Auckland Transport

Some business owners are concerned the two-lane road won't be enough, with Warkworth Business Association manager Murray Chapman telling NZME the analysis undertaken by Auckland Transport is flawed. 

He said it's a "recipe for disaster" and there will be "two choke points rather than one". 

But Auckland Transport maintains that only two lanes are required at this stage, and that if the growth estimates eventuate, the road will be extended to four lanes. 

The Regional Fuel Tax has been crucial to funding new projects in Auckland, Mr Ellison told Newshub. Without it, he said, the Matakana Link Rd project couldn't be executed. New walking and cycling options are also part of the plan. 

The Regional Fuel Tax was introduced on July 1 because funding was "not sufficient enough to deliver the level of investment in transport that Auckland needed," Auckland Transport says.  

Aucklanders now pay an extra 11.5c a litre (including GST) under the tax.

The Matakana Link Rd project aims to be complete by 2021, the same time as the Puhoi to Warkworth road, the details of which were unveiled in July by Transport Minister Phil Twyford.