Auckland congestion charge gets support from Chamber of Commerce

7:50 am on 11 February 2018

The Auckland Chamber of Commerce says it would support the introduction of a congestion charge to ease pressure on the city's road-network.

The king tide has coincided with return to school traffic.

Photo: RNZ / Tim Watkin

The congestion charge is recommended in a report set to be debated by Auckland Council on Tuesday and suggests further work is done on exactly how it would be implemented.

The report said Auckland's arterial network was 33 percent more congested in 2017 than in 2014. It also said congestion was increasing at weekends and non-peak times on week days.

The report, which was jointly commissioned by several government agencies and Auckland council, found the average motorway trip takes 10 percent longer.

Auckland Chamber of Commerce's chief executive Michael Barnett said businesses in the CBD struggled getting deliveries as trucks got stuck in traffic.

"What Auckland needs to appreciate is that we are in catch up mode, we're $40 billion behind the mark in construction, roading and housing.

"We need to do something that's going to raise some meaningful revenue, a congestion charge would do that," Mr Barnett said.

Executives right through to the factory worker are sitting and wasting time in traffic, which meant time away from their families or time away from work, Mr Barnett said.

"There's a case of people losing business because people avoid certain areas they know will have bad traffic and congestion."

Matt Lowrie, editor of Greater Auckland, a transport blog, said a congestion charge was a good idea but needed to run alongside better public transport options.

"It's early on in the process of introducing the idea of a congestion charge, pricing is just one aspect, we need a good range of alternatives.

"At the moment a lot of people don't have a good option other than to drive, it's not to say that everyone is going to have to pay this charge or everyone will be forced to use public transport but it's about giving people options," Mr Lowrie said.

About 40 percent of people coming over the Harbour Bridge were doing so on the bus, so were doing their part to ease congestion, he said.

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