Auckland motorists could learn the future cost of driving in the city as soon as next week.
That’s because, if the Government goes ahead with the plan, a congestion charge will be implemented for the nation’s most populated city as soon as 2025.
Motorists entering the city at peak times will be charged a fee. These fees would likely vary on a time band and be between $1.50 and $3.50 per travel.
It’s not a certainty, but a report was published last week by the Helen Clark Foundation which analysed the effect of having a congestion charge.
The report’s author, Tom James, believes congestion charges in Auckland will be an inevitability.
James insists a congestion charge will see up to 30 per cent less traffic on city roads at rush hour times. It will also put some muscle in the Government’s climate change fight.
He adds Auckland already loses $1.3 billion in productivity because of heavy traffic.
Auckland Mayor Phill Goff tells the NZ Herald he supports the idea of a congestion charge on the condition the city’s regional fuel tax is removed.
The Helen Clark Foundation report considers how a congestion charge would impact commuters living on a low income. The report points out that the city’s public transport is not at a level where a congestion charge would be considered fair to all Aucklanders.
“We must change our transport system to make it fairer and to enable people to drive less,” the report reads.
“Cities around the world have had positive outcomes when congestion charging is brought in with thorough community engagement and improvements to public and active transport.”
Busy cities like London charge motorists £15 just to enter the city. Traffic has reduced by as much as 30 per cent in some areas.
Other cities with similar fees include Singapore, Milan and Stockholm.
Cities such as New York have had congestion charge proposals rejected.
James says he would also like to see a price cap, meaning Aucklanders won’t be excessively charged for repeatedly driving through and around the city.
The Government announces its next steps concerning a potential congestion charge on May 16.