Aucklanders are being asked to get their minds around a couple of important decisions following the release of the Funding Auckland’s Transport Future report, by the Independent Advisory Board (IAB). CAA was one of the stakeholders which contributed to the report. The full report can be found at: shapeauckland.co.nz
Whats it all about and what does it mean for transport cycling?
The first choice: What level of transport investment do you want? The Mayor’s recent LTP statement Mayor’s proposal for the next 10 years sets out two levels of transport investment, the Basic Transport Network and Auckland Plan Transport Network.
The Basic Network limits expenditure within the existing funding envelope but foregoes a lot of worthwhile public transport projects. There is substantially less spend on the cycle network, more than likely less than what is currently budgeted.
The Auckland Plan Network is more extensive and delivers greater benefits to all modes, but comes at a higher cost. About $300 million more per year, which will need to funded somehow. The Auckland Plan Network delivers all of the projects in the Basic Network plus more PT and
arterial road upgrades. It also includes funding for a faster roll out and completion of the cycle network so that by 2025 it will be 55% complete.
From our perspective it’s more like a Hobson’s choice. With the Basic Network you get less progress on building out the cycle network than today. Or accelerated investment with the Auckland Plan Network. The Basic Network would be a retro-grade step. We will be arguing that the investment in cycling facilities should be increased and accelerated under either scheme because the economic, society, health and travel benefits far out strip the costs.
The second choice: How do we pay for the Auckland Plan Network?
Should Aucklanders opt for the higher level of investment the IAB has proposed
two alternative funding pathways. Rehashing the Auckland Plan was not
Rates and Fuel Taxes: To raise the required revenue rates will need to
increase by 1% p.a and fuel taxes will need to increase by 1.2
cents/litre annually. This is in addition to any other council or
government increases. This pathway spreads the cost broadly across
households and businesses. The upside is that it can be implemented
relatively easily and quickly. The main drawback is that it is arguably
regressive and there is only a tenuous link to travel behaviour.
Motorway Use Charges: A charge of on average $2 per entry to Auckland’s motorway
system is proposed, which is effectively a road pricing scheme. It’s
more costly and complex to implement, but the technology is proven and
exists in New Zealand (think Northern Gateway) and overseas. The main
advantage of this scheme is that it provides a direct link between the
cost and those that benefit. This means that households and business can
adapt their travel behaviour in response to the extra charges.
Auckland are going to get an opportunity to express their preference, of which
which pathway as part of the Long Term Plan consultation process, which
kicks off in December 2014.