Auckland Mayor Phil Goff's plan to raise the price of petrol to tackle the city's transport crisis is gaining support.
Half of Aucklanders back a regional petrol tax of 11.5 cents a litre near the halfway point of consultation on Auckland Council's new 10-year budget.
Support for the tax is sitting on 50 per cent, while opponents number 41 per cent and the rest do not know.
The regional petrol tax is key to Goff increasing spending on transport when commuters are being told to brace for longer trips to work and congestion-busting benefits from the Waterview tunnel could be short-lived.
Aucklanders already spend the equivalent of four working weeks, or 160 hours, stuck in traffic a year. Last month, a council report said severe congestion is expected to increase by 30 per cent at peak hours, and 50 per cent between the morning and evening peaks.
Goff has promised to introduce a regional petrol tax with Government backing to replace an interim transport levy sprung on ratepayers three years ago. The tax is expected to raise between $130 million and $150m a year - more than the $60m raised by the levy.
The mayor called 50 per cent in favour of the fuel tax a "good result".
"Ask anyone if they want to pay more for a service or infrastructure and the default answer is almost always no."
Goff said Aucklanders understand that with big population growth and hundreds of extra cars on the road every week that doing nothing leads to more congestion and gridlock and billions of dollars in lost productivity.
"We have consistently found that a fuel tax which is cheap to administer and contains a user-pays element for road usage is preferred over other road charging systems," Goff said.
For every dollar raised by the fuel tax, Goff said, Aucklanders get another dollar in subsidy from the National Land Transport Fund to do more.
Exactly where the money is spent will not be known until the council and the new Government line up their transport priorities for the city over the coming weeks that includes a $5 billion light rail programme favoured by Goff and Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.
An interim update on budget submissions shows about 4300 Aucklanders have provided feedback on the budget.
As well as the petrol tax, 66 per cent of submitters are in favour of paying an extra $66 for the average household a year to improve water quality and 57 per cent favour paying one of two options to address environmental problems like kauri dieback.
Of two environmental options, there is stronger support for the more expensive option of $47 per year for the average household to boost funding by $311m over 10 years as opposed to $21 for the average household to boost spending by $136m. One in three submitters do not support either option.
Aucklanders are also being asked to comment on a proposed general rates increase of 2.5 per cent for the first two years and 3.5 per cent thereafter. There is 46 per cent support for the proposal, with 42 per cent opposed and 12 per cent not knowing.
• Aucklanders to have say on regional petrol tax before knowing how it will be spent
• Congestion charges on table in fight against Auckland gridlock
• Auckland residents prepared to pay to fix congested road
In keeping with the pattern of older people taking a stronger interest in council matters, 42 per cent of submissions are from people aged over 55, compared to 22 per cent of people under 35.
Europeans make up 75 per cent of the submitters, followed by Asians(13 per cent), Maori(5 per cent) and Pacific(3 per cent).
Residents in the Albert-Eden Local Board area have made the most submissions with 284, followed by Waitemata(253), Rodney(242), Hibiscus and Bays(193) and Howick(180).
For more information on the 10-year budget, which closes on March 28, go to: AKhaveyoursay.nz