Auckland Mayor Len Brown's unveiled a package proposing motorway user charges and a fixed $99-a-year levy on household ratepayers to help fund an additional $12 billion for transport network upgrades.
The recommendations have come in Brown's report on the Auckland Council's 2015-25 draft long term plan published in December.
Brown said because the proposed motorway user charge would require legislation and take a number of years to put in place, he was proposing to fund immediate new investments of $500 million over the next three years through an "interim fixed levy on ratepayers".
He said such a levy was first signalled in the draft long term plan.
"It is intended to meet urgent needs for investment in public transport, including new rail, bus and cycleways. In order to make a difference the levy has been calculated at an average of $99 a year for non-business ratepayers and $159 for business ratepayers.
“Today we are responding to a clear message from Aucklanders - start fixing our transport problems now,” Len Brown said.
“Auckland is New Zealand’s fastest growing region. We will have one million more Aucklanders sharing our roads over the next thirty years. Just to keep this city moving in the future we need to invest in an enhanced, fully integrated transport network.
“Aucklanders, in record numbers during the consultation, and in an independent survey, have been clear that they are prepared to pay their share to get the transport network we need. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for action. Aucklanders have spoken, and we now have a responsibility to listen and act upon it.”
The key recommendations in the Mayor’s Report include:
- Supporting the Auckland Plan Transport Network and motorway tolling as the mechanism to pay for it
- An interim transport levy over three years equating to less than $2 per week for non-business ratepayers and $3 per week for business ratepayers
- The Mayor and Chief Executive to engage with the government to enable the implementation of a motorway tolling system by 2018/19
- Keeping average rates rises to 2.5% for year one.
- Keeping the UAGC at $385 and slowing down the business differential to limit the impact on ratepayers to 0.5% per annum