"Transport Minister David Parker's admission in Parliament today that toll roads work is encouraging, but the Government needs to accept that ACT's plan to change the way infrastructure is planned and funded, by inviting private partners to build infrastructure the Government can’t afford, is the only way to ensure New Zealanders have world class infrastructure,” says ACT’s Transport spokesperson Simon Court.
“Even without the Auckland Harbour Bridge having lanes shut down because of wind, Auckland’s traffic woes are a disgrace. ACT’s ambitious plan to change the way infrastructure is planned and funded is needed to ensure Aucklanders can get from A to B.
“ACT’s policy would mean projects like the East West Link, or the proposed Alternative State Highway for Northwest Auckland, would hurry up and get built. Under the current system National Governments announce new projects that take too long to build, and Labour doesn’t announce anything and slows down the previous Government’s projects.
“ACT is the only Party proposing a genuine shakeup of how roading infrastructure is funded in New Zealand, ensuring Auckland, and the rest of New Zealand gets access to safe, modern and efficient roads.
“ACT is proposing to introduce a world-class toll roading system. It will use private sector financing and expertise to get new roads built faster and to maintain existing roads more quickly and effectively. Countries like Ireland have successfully made extensive use of tolling.
“In March 2018 then Transport Minister Phil Twyford said “Solving Auckland's traffic gridlock is also important for the rest of New Zealand with congestion in the city between 2015 and 2017 estimated to have cost the economy between $1.3 billion a year in lost productivity”.
“Under a world-class toll roading system, New Zealanders will have a choice: make use of new toll roads much sooner or wait for tax-funded roads to be delivered later or never.
“For example, Penlink is a very valuable asset to the people of Whangaparaoa, only just being built now. It could have been built and paid for thirty years ago if this policy existed back then. There are projects all over New Zealand that could be built sooner under this model.
“New Zealand’s existing toll roads have exceeded expectations – decreasing distance and drive times and creating much improved safety outcomes. The Northern Gateway has saved 1.23 million hours of travel time annually, and prior to the Tauranga Eastern Link there were 1.8 fatalities each year, compared to only 0.17 now. New Zealand can’t afford not to have more infrastructure like this.
“ACT is ambitious for New Zealand, we aspire to create a modern, thriving economy with world class infrastructure. With private sector financing and expertise to bring projects forward, we can achieve that.”