Govt, Akl Council investigate peak hour traffic tolls to cut congestion

This could encourage some users to change the time, route or way in which they travel," said Transport Minister Simon Bridges.

The government is investigating whether Auckland road users should pay higher tolls for using certain roads at peak times in order to reduce congestion.

The terms of reference for the 'Smarter Transport Pricing Project', which emerged from the Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) report agreed on by the government and Auckland Council last year, have been released. The ATAP report recommended a "fundamental shift to a greater focus on influencing travel demand" through variable road tolls, along with use of new technology and substantial ongoing investment in transport networks.

In a statement, Transport Minister Simon Bridges stressed that variable pricing "will be primarily used to replace the existing road taxes that motorists pay. This is about easing congestion, not raising more revenue".

"Smarter transport pricing could involve varying what road users pay at different times and/or locations to better reflect where the cost of using the roads is higher (ie where there is congestion)," Bridges said. "This could encourage some users to change the time, route or way in which they travel."

A progress report for the first stage of the project is due in November, including timing for the remainder of the project and an assessment of pricing options. A governance group involving the Secretary for Transport, Auckland council's chief executive and representatives from the State Services Commission, the NZ Transport Agency and Auckland Transport will make recommendations to the government and Auckland Council.

(BusinessDesk)

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