Tauranga’s transport schemozzle

Greetings from Greater Tauranga. We are a newly formed group that aim to have an active voice in transport and land use planning for our city. This first blog is an overview of the web of agencies, plans and agendas that govern our transport planning and in our view make it nigh on impossible for the bold and integrated planning required to  avoid the future that Auckland is now trying to untangle itself from.…
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Pre-emptively poking holes in the land tax bucket

Land taxes have – unexpectedly – become a hot policy topic in the run-up to the election. Land taxes were originally suggested by the economist and social reformer Henry George as a fairer alternative to income or business tax. The logic behind them is that land values are shaped by the activities of society as a whole, rather than the individual owner: they are boosted by public investments in transport and good schools, and by the productivity gains that arise from lots of workers and businesses interacting in cities.…
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New Zealand’s problem with death

Matt’s post the other week about New Zealand’s worsening road safety record was troubling. After years in which the number of people dying in road crashes has fallen, the number’s been rising steadily since 2014 and it’s recently spiked upwards. As Matt wrote: That our road toll is increasing is appalling and it’s even more disappointing to see that pedestrians are bearing some of the brunt of it.…
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Making mischief with multi-criteria analysis

Kiwirail’s recent decision to release the full business case for the third main has provided an interesting look into Auckland’s transport alternatives. As Matt outlined in his post, it’s strange that this project hasn’t been funded while the far costlier East-West Link is being fast-tracked: The section of track between Westfield and Wiri is one of the most heavily used in the entire country.…
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The escalating costs of building roads

The Auckland Council Chief Economist’s most recent economic commentary highlighted a vital challenge for the city: the rising cost of adding road capacity (and the dubious returns from adding capacity). International studies have shown that expanding the roading network, either by building new roads and/or widening existing roads, typically does not keep up with the increase in the number of private vehicles because of induced demand.…
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Can value capture help pay for new infrastructure?

When we build new infrastructure that connects places to useful destinations or opens up development opportunities, it lifts the value of properties in the surrounding areas. This is pretty intuitively sensible: Holding all else equal, most people would be willing to pay a bit more for the convenience of having, say, a fast and reliable public transport route nearby.…
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