Who pays what for light rail is still up in the air - with Auckland Mayor Phil Goff saying council could pay up to $1.5 billion and higher rates for property owners near the proposed routes should be investigated.
Goff has also said he wants to look at targeted rates to help meet the cost of the ambitious light rail plans to Auckland Airport and West Auckland - charging landowners more if the value of their property lifts because of proximity to the new tram routes and stops.
"There is a lot of work that needs to be done on it. But it is work that needs to be done...if you get a windfall profit, then you should be contributing some of that towards the infrastructure that enabled that to happen," Goff said.
Transport was high on the agenda when Goff met Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern at her Beehive office today.
Ardern confirmed the Government will sit down with the council to renegotiate a joint government-council 10-year transport plan, known as the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP).
This will determine the split in costs of the new Government's plan to spend $5b to build tram lines from Auckland CBD to the airport and West Auckland within 10 years, and complete the first leg of the airport route to Mt Roskill by 2021.
"We have acknowledged the role that central government needs to play. But it comes on both sides. We have had a discussion today around what council can do to make sure it finds efficiencies so that it is in a position to fund...what it is able to," Ardern said.
"We have always acknowledged that Auckland should have some skin in the game...the regional fuel tax allows us to do that."
The Government will change the law to allow Auckland Council to introduce a regional petrol tax, likely to be set at 10c a litre.
Goff said that would cost about $2.60 a week for the average motorist, which was a much lower charge than if congestion charges were brought in.
"We are adding 800 cars a week to the roads in Auckland. That is absolutely unsustainable. I've looked around at different models around the world, it is very clear that Auckland has to have a mass transit system," he said.
"These things take time to build but there are clear models for it...it is a matter of timing, how quickly we can do this. And, of course, it is a matter of what Auckland can contribute. And with the regional fuel tax we can contribute over a 10 year period something between $1.2b and $1.5b."
When light rail routes and stops are built the surrounding land will increase in value, and Goff said he wanted to explore targeted rates to charge such property owners more.
"That is a concept that I think really needs to be explored. Sometimes when the ratepayer and the taxpayer puts in new infrastructure, it creates a massive uplift in the value of properties.
"And I think in principle it is fair that if you are getting a massive uplift in the value of your property that you make a contribution to the infrastructure that lets that happen."
Under Labour's confidence and supply agreement with the Green Party the controversial East West link project to connect SH1 and SH20 was stopped "as currently proposed".
Today, Ardern said that was because the business plan was "almost non-existent and not robust".
"We have said we will cancel the current plans as they exist. But we acknowledge there are congestion issues that mean we need to relook about how we respond to the problems that generated the original East West Link plan."