Only rich will be able to drive in Auckland, says AA

Only the rich will be able to afford to drive in Auckland as the council targets motorists to pay for its public transport plans, the Automobile Association says.

The Auckland Council's spatial plan proposes funding public transport improvements with congestion charges, network access charges, a regional fuel tax and levies on private parking spaces.

AA Auckland transport spokesman Simon Lambourne said the plan also acknowledged that advancing rail and other initiatives would leave critical gaps in the region's motorway and local roading network.

"Although the AA is supportive of improving Auckland's public transport system, it is time for a reality check on what is both practical and achievable," he said.

"The council's spatial plan is putting Auckland's economy and communities at risk, and it means only the rich will be able to afford to drive in the future."

About 80 per cent of travel in Auckland is by car, and even with public transport improvements about 68 per cent will still be by car in 30 years time, Mr Lambourne said.

Auckland motorists had already paid for their roads through petrol taxes and road user charges, and subsidised the cost of train trips by about 60 per cent and bus trips by about 50 per cent.

"Now the council wants Auckland motorists to pay the billions of dollars it will cost for train, bus and ferry improvements," Mr Lambourne said.

"Auckland motorists do not have an endless supply of money. They are hurting from near record high fuel costs and they already contribute more than their fair share to the cost of Auckland transport."

Mr Lambourne said the council's transport ambitions could be funded through debt and investment bonds, which would spread the repayment costs across several generations.

"We can all think of wonderful ways to improve Auckland transport, but we also need to be realistic about how much these ideas will cost, what the priorities are, and how we can pay for them."

- NZPA

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