Greater Wellington welcomes report on congestion charging as part of emissions target
Greater Wellington has welcomed a report from the Transport and Infrastructure Committee on congestion charging in Auckland, describing it as a necessary enabler for mode shift and zero emissions targets.
The report, Inquiry into congestion pricing in Auckland, recommended that Auckland be the first scheme of its kind in New Zealand, with congestion charging implemented in other New Zealand cities in the future. In its findings the report stressed the need to engage with the public about what congestion pricing is, what purpose it serves, and how it can be implemented, as well as the importance of showing how the revenue would be used to benefit people affected by congestion pricing.
Roger Blakeley, chair of Greater Wellington’s Transport committee wholeheartedly agrees with the findings.
“If we are serious about reducing emissions then we need to talk more and invest more in mode shift programmes. This means providing walking and cycling infrastructure, much better, cheaper, accessible and more frequent public transport. This requires a serious rethink and a reprioritisation of funding from the Government and tools like congestion charging and parking policies can be part of the funding model,” says Cr Blakeley.
In June, the regional council made a submission to the Government on Hīkina te Kohupara – Kia mauri ora ai te iwi - Transport Emissions: Pathways to Net Zero by 2050 urging a significant shift in policies, institutional arrangements and planned investment to accelerate the change needed to reduce transport emissions.
Greater Wellington’s Regional Land Transport Plan includes a target of ‘40 percent increase in active travel and public transport mode share by 2030 but believes that a shift to electric vehicles by itself will not be sufficient and that mode shift, rather than electrification of private vehicles, should be the government’s main transport priority.
“Of course we need to transition to electric vehicles, but focusing on this as a priority risks undermining the urgent mode shift required away from investment in motorways and towards energy efficient transport infrastructure that will actually carry the number of people we need to carry now and in the future.
“We need to design our transport systems within the basic geographic constraints of our cities, with climate and the social pressures baked in so we don’t short change the planet or people who are not currently well served by transport system including people with disabilities and people who are less well off.
“Three quarters of the Government’s National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) is already allocated for the decade ahead, so a review of the NLTF’s scope and priorities will be needed as well as additional funding. If congestion charging can play a part in helping us get there quicker the Government should explore that as an option for our region,” says Cr Blakeley.