Mayoral candidate Phil Goff warns if Auckland does not start paying a fuel tax, traffic gridlocked on the roads will "steadily get worse" for the next 10 years.
He's proposing a 10 cents per litre fuel tax for the Auckland region. Mr Goff believes that would create around $120 million a year in extra revenue for the council.
The Auckland mayoral candidate says alternative funding tools are required for a vital light rail system, which would connect the city to the airport.
The former Labour party member told RadioLIVE's Duncan Garner Auckland is footing the bill for the migration influx.
"We know that when the population grows by 45,000 a year, the government does very well out of that, it gets the income tax, the GST, the company tax. Auckland gets the cost of providing the infrastructure."
He says there are more cars on the road every day but no plans for how to service them.
"We're putting 800 more cars on the road each week, new cars. We can't just ignore that…. On average each of us are spending 20 working days stuck in congestion."
He says a light rail system from Wynard Quarter, down Dominion Rd to the airport would cost upward of $1 billion. He wants to use the fuel tax to fund that project.
"That would probably give you about $120 million a year, and would enable you to borrow and invest on a very prudential basis, probably $200 to $250m a year."
Mr Goff knows Transport Minister Simon Bridges isn't keen on the idea, but has faith there is still some wriggle room.
"My understanding is they are rethinking [a fuel tax] because in the end, they've got to be part of the solution or they will be blamed for the problem."
However Mr Bridges is adamant there is no place for such a charge to fund public transport.
"Congestion pricing/variable network pricing is being considered as part of the Auckland Transport Alignment Project, the final report of which is due out soon. However this is being considered as a way of changing behaviour as opposed to revenue gathering. The Government has no interest in introducing regional petrol taxes," the Minister said in a statement.
Mr Goff says a public/private partnership could be the answer if the government blocks the idea however he says doing nothing is not an option.
"Just imagine what happens when instead of three and a half million tourists coming into the airport and wanting to go into town, when that becomes five million, it is a joke."