Key Auckland transport projects - including some on which work has already started - face long delays unless new money can be raised from road tolls or higher rates.
That has prompted North Shore councillor George Wood to allege Aucklanders are being "blackmailed" into accepting tolls.
Public transport schemes will be hit hardest, including several interchange projects such as one for which groundworks have started for buses to meet trains at Otahuhu, as the $2.4 billion underground railway soaks up most of the sector's capital spending.
But reseals of roads and footpaths will also be curbed, leaving a growing portion in poor condition or worse, as Auckland Transport sheds $3 billion from a previously-indicated $9.8 billion on capital projects over 10 years.
The interchanges face delays until at least 2020, and the council body says the Otahuhu project will have to be abandoned in June without alternative funding, even though it is needed to support a major reorganisation of southern bus and rail services next year.
That plan - to be replicated later across other sectors of the Super City - is based on shorter bus routes feeding more passengers to trains for longer-distance commuting.
But Otahuhu's bus and rail stations are now 1.2km apart, and Auckland Transport acknowledges its revised network is "unlikely to fully achieve anticipated benefits" without a direct interchange.
Other transport interchanges facing delays include those proposed for downtown Auckland, the Wynyard Quarter, Manukau and Te Atatu.
A long-planned $52 million upgrade of Dominion Rd also faces a year's delay, until at least 2016, even though several million dollars are already being spent on associated cycling routes along side streets.
Auckland Transport has earmarked just $81 million over the first five years under a "basic" 10-year network budget for public transport projects other than the City Rail Link (CRL), for which it has allocated $1.7 billion.
The tail end of its electric trains order will take up $28m of the $81m, and it will cost $21 million to expand the Hop ticketing scheme and reinforce it with unitary fares across most forms of public transport.
But the agency acknowledges roading "renewals" will also have to be chopped by hundreds of millions of dollars.
That will result in a deferred maintenance backlog of $1.25 billion, leaving an increasing proportion roads in "a poor or very poor condition," says chief financial officer Richard Morris in an email to Mr Wood.
Mr Wood says that is "scary stuff".
"I think people are kind of being blackmailed to try to get them to sign up to tolls," Mr Wood told the Herald, indicating he and other councillors would have another crack this week at requiring Mr Brown to accept a public referendum on the issue.
Tolls are one of two options recommended by a panel of advisers to the mayor for raising an extra $300 million of annual transport funding, the alternative being higher rates and fuel taxes.
Auckland Council must sign off a draft ten-year budget on Thursday for public consultation starting on January 23.
Mr Brown would not be drawn on the "blackmail" claim, except to highlight a $12 billion gap over 30 years "between what a growing Auckland needs to keep moving and what it can fund from current revenue sources."
"We can either do nothing and face significant deterioration in our transport network, or find a way forward acceptable to Aucklanders," Mr Brown said.
"I am going to listen to Aucklanders before making a decision, and I encourage others to do the same."
Council infrastructure chairman Mike Lee, a strong supporter of the underground railway, fears the "basic" budget will undermine a stretch patronage target which the Government has set as a condition for contributing to the mega-project before 2020.
"There's a yawning gap between the council's stated strategy of building the CRL.....and budget priorities to achieve that increase," he said.
"There's no emphasis on improving rail, on upgrading or enhancing rail patronage over and above routine increases."