17 Jul 2012

Council urged to to re-think PPPs

9:06 am on 17 July 2012

Auckland Chamber of Commerce is urging Auckland Council to reconsider public-private partnerships (PPPs) as a way of funding transport projects.

The council has announced a shortlist of five funding options but public-private partnerships have been dropped from the original list.

A regional fuel tax, road tolls and parking levies are still on the shortlist.

The council has a funding gap of more than $10 billion for projects such as an inner-city rail loop and a third harbour crossing.

Chamber chief executive Michael Barnett says PPPs are a good way to get revenue fast and he can't understand why the idea has been dropped.

The Automobile Association says wider debate is needed. It says the new shortlist was issued after submissions by just 160 people, without any costs being considered.

The AA says some ideas have been scrapped even before a consultation group meets to evaluate the options.

Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley says the big question is affordability and councils must be realistic.

He says projects being done now are already paid for by petrol taxes and road user charges.

Mayor Len Brown says any decision is still three or four years away.

Defending the shortlist, he told Morning Report that Aucklanders understand that fixing the city's transport woes cannot be put off forever.