No congestion charges mean higher rates or project delays, says Chamber
The Government’s refusal to allow congestion charges to help pay for Let’s Get Wellington Moving transport solutions will result in higher rates or delays in other vital projects, or both, says Wellington Chamber of Commerce.
"The city needs to find money for its $1.3 billion share of the Let’s Get Wellington Moving projects but asking ratepayers for so much more or cutting back on other vital infrastructure projects is not acceptable," says Chief Executive John Milford.
"Rates are already very high, and we have serious resilience issues around the three waters, electricity, earthquake-proofing, and challenges around sorting a circular economy. Those projects are vital - as vital as fixing our transport - and must proceed at pace.
"That leaves congestion charges, and even fuel taxes, and the city needs to be able to use them to get things moving.
"The Chamber supports Mayor Foster on this and the council’s submission to the Resource Management Act review.
"Councils must be given all available tools to pay for transport and other vital infrastructure.
"By refusing to allow congestion charging, and also regional fuel taxes, the Government is tying councils’ hands.
"Public opinion is very clear on this. Wellingtonians want Let’s Get Wellington Moving advanced as soon as possible to relieve congestion, and it’s clear the best way to do that without compromising other projects is congestion charging.
"It’s a mechanism that kills two birds with one stone: it raises money without increasing the rates burden or cutting other vital spending and will likely push more people towards the mass transit systems that will follow.
"It’s the sort of common sense we need to get things moving."