The key to gridlock?

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris

Last week, Auckland Mayoral candidate John Tamihere announced he wants a congestion charge on trucks entering Auckland’s port. Could such a congestion charge work in Tauranga?

Given that port freight was a strong justification for the hundreds of millions spent on the harbour bridge, flyovers, and the Tauranga Eastern Link it would be a shame to effectively restrict trucks from accessing the port. However, ask any peak hour commuter and it’s undeniable the impact port traffic has.

All roads that access the port are council-owned. If we established a toll on vehicles entering the port from say 7:30 to 9:30am and 4pm till 6pm the relief for commuters would be immediate. However, the push back from both the port and Road Transport Forum would also be immediate.

Trucks pay their fair share of road-user charges and cars pay through the pump. But it’s clear from a comment by Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter, who described motorists as “car fascists”, that this government won’t use that money on improving our roads. Neither will Regional Council, who use the port dividend to reduce regional rates including for Rotorua and Whakatane instead of spending it on the city that has the imposition of hosting the port.

A toll would enable Tauranga to fund more transport upgrades, benefitting the port, and reduce congestion at peak times - a key to the gridlock the city faces.


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