Monday, 16 December 2019

Let's get road pricing done

“National should be congratulated for raising the idea of congestion charging but it must go further and commit to rolling it out in its first term of government”, according to ACT Leader David Seymour.

“ACT has pushed for road pricing for several years, but both major parties have dithered while transport bureaucrats have written report after report on the subject.

“We don’t need more talk and more reports. The technology exists, we know it has reduced congestion in London, Stockholm, and Singapore by a fifth. All that is needed is the political will.

“New Zealand can take advantage of emerging technologies, including GPS tracking of traffic, to effectively price roads in real time, so pricing is self-regulating and booth-free. This would give people constant incentives to share rides or travel off-peak, plus options to pay for on-peak travel for those willing to pay.

“Such a world-leading system would mean high-value, time-sensitive trips such as ambulance rides would have shorter and more reliable travel times, while single occupancy riders would be more likely to take the bus, people driving kids to school would more likely carpool, and people living near train stations would be more likely to use them.

“But road pricing must be revenue-neutral. It should be used as a tool to keep traffic flowing, not as a cash cow or a way to put people off driving entirely. Any revenue raised should be offset with a reduction in petrol tax, and new revenue received by council should be used to improve the road network just like petrol taxes are.

“Waiting another five or ten years is not good enough. Anyone who has driven around Auckland knows we’re at a crisis point now.

“National must commit to demand-based road pricing within its first term. Several ACT MPs in the next government could help get it done.”