But the thing is just because they see and understand that, that’s not making them give you more. And the thing is with the Alignment Project, by about right now, you guys are supposed to have come up with an agreement on how you’re going to fund it. So have you reached an agreement?
And the short answer is that my—
The deadline is nigh.
What I said to the Government was that we need two things – we need some degree of revenue sharing. You know, if you go to Australia and you look at a big – let me finish, please. If you go to Australia and see a big city like Melbourne, where do they get their money for infrastructure? The government – the federal government – puts down to the state government a share of GST. We need something like that for a city the size of Auckland in New Zealand.
Have they agreed to that?
No, no, but they are still considering that. The second thing we need is a road-pricing system. Now, next week, you’ll hear an announcement from Government on road pricing. I don’t want to comment on it, because I can’t pre-empt the Government’s announcement.
No, this is really important. So a road-pricing announcement – that’s going to come next week. What form is it going to take? And when you say it’s not going to help you in the short-term, how far off is it?
Oh, look, I’m going to leave it to the Government to make that announcement. And you’ll see my comment in response in due course. It’s not my role to pre-empt it. But we have been having these discussions, and they’re serious discussions.
It’s good to see some progress on this, as ATAP highlighted road pricing – or smarter transport pricing as ATAP calls it – needs to be a cornerstone of Auckland’s future transport strategy. This is best illustrated by looking at the “network performance” graphs in the ATAP document, which show the impact of pricing being implemented from the late 2020s:
There’s pretty strong international agreement that road pricing is a worthwhile exercise to pursue. However, implementation has been really challenging around the world, mainly at a political level, with as many failures (Edinburgh, Manchester, New York) as successes (London, Singapore, Stockholm). Other than just not wanting to have to pay to travel, the main issues with road pricing generally relate to concerns over mitigating equity issues, the availability of quality transport options for those facing higher costs of travel and the costs and complexities of the scheme itself.
ATAP was rightly cautious about the time it might take to get such a scheme up and running, particularly as the option tested in ATAP was a very sophisticated “GPS-based” scheme.
Seeing some of the details about the next steps will be important and interesting. Some questions in my mind include:
- Will there be an actual proposal suggested or will the announcement just be about establishing a project to look into options?
- What is the timeframe for implementation? ATAP had about a ten year horizon, however, Goff’s comments on it impacting medium term could suggest something much sooner.
- What work will need to be accelerated to vastly improve Auckland’s public transport system before implementation? London, already a city with a huge PT system, massively expanded its bus lane network and bus service provision before implementing what is a fairly tiny cordon/area scheme.
- What will the links between this work and other essential work on resolving the transport funding gap be? Most recent road pricing work in Auckland has had a revenue focus and there remains a massive unanswered question about funding, so there’s a natural link between the two that cannot just be ignored.
- The government have made comments in the past that road pricing could replace some existing transport taxes, will this remain the case and will they ensure that the money raised from Auckland is fed back into Auckland and not just added to the combined government pot.
- Knowing that road pricing will be implemented, at what point does that start to be included in all of the assessments and forecasts for upcoming transport projects – and how will that change prioritisation.
- While not strictly related to the road pricing announcement expected this week, the cities that that seem to have the best success with implementing road pricing or even just additional transport taxes (e.g. LA, Seattle) tend to be able to communicate clearly and effectively just what any money raised will be used for. Will the government, council or the various transport agencies ever be able to effectively communicate this?
Keep an eye out for more on this once some of the details are announced later in the week.