The cost of uncluttering Tauranga roads

If congestion is the problem, fuel taxes may be the answer. Photo: Nikki South.

If motorists are part of the problem, they should be part of the solution. And part of that solution could be a regional fuel tax, according to Tauranga Labour MP Jan Tinetti.

If that brings on cold sweats and makes Tauranga motorists fidgety while snarled in more peak-time traffic congestion on Turret or Hewletts Road, then relax. At least in the meantime.

Because there will be no regional fuel taxes to fund transport issues in Tauranga – not in this parliamentary term, and not this election cycle. “But there’s certainly the possibility it could happen further down the track,” says the MP.

She supports an RFT. “From the perspective that when you have so many local road users, as they do in Auckland, then they have to be part of the solution.”

Motorists in the great metropolis are still smarting from the imposition of a RFT – 11.5 cents per litre from July 1 to raise $1.5 billion over ten years towards upgrading the city’s rail and bus networks. The AA says that will add about $125 to the annual cost of running a car in Auckland.

“It’s hugely unpopular,” admits Jan, “absolutely. But I hear on a daily basis – more than once, twice or three times a day – that traffic is horrendous out there in Tauranga, where travel times are way longer than they have ever been.”

But she says any solution you come up with is going to be hugely unpopular with a sector of people. “What’s equally unpopular is the situation we are trying to find solutions for – in this case Tauranga’s ever-increasing traffic congestion.”

And there would be socials impacts. The Salvation Army suggest RFTs would mean car-dependent families struggling to meet costs and would cut food spending, then the power, to defray the increased costs of getting to and from work.

And people tell the MP the RFT hits people who can least afford it. “Well, that’s when we really need to look at our public transport systems as well, and encourage those people, and all people for that matter, out of their cars and onto alterative transport, such as buses.

“They do have to be part of the solution, because Tauranga does have to do something about unclogging the roads and pinch points around the city.”

And with a solution, there is a cost. Someone is going to get hurt along the way.

“Unless we get free money from somewhere, and there’s no such thing,” says Jan. “Even if it comes out of central government coffers, those coffers are also dependent on a tax take to generate funding, so in turn it impacts everyone.”

So, is the MP softening the city for a regional fuel tax?

“It could be a possibility in the 2020 parliamentary term,” she admits. “I can’t crystal ball gaze, but you can’t rule it out.”

Opposition leader Simon Bridges has reportedly said he would repeal the Auckland regional fuel tax if National were elected in 2020.


13 Comments

Road Users

Posted on 03-07-2018 18:59 | By swt3

I totally agree with ’By just do it’, I too travel the same road in the morning & night. The traffic is diabolical to say the least, cell phones, blocking intersections with no where to go, running red lights to then, just stop at the bottom of 15th ave to let the side streets in. They should block off burrows st & the bottom of 15th ave, & the traffic would certainly flow better. Get the cops out there ticketing red light runners, & cell phone talkers. I’m a motorcyclist & can see what the car 6 in front of me is up too, prior to even passing them. One lady on way to work, was applying make up & drifting all over the road. What next,. . . & they say our roads ’kill’. Not likely.

use public transport

Posted on 03-07-2018 14:44 | By tristan_benge

use public transport it will be good because it will get alot of cars from the road and more people to catch the buses.

STOP

Posted on 02-07-2018 13:07 | By Lvdw

You hit the nail on the head ’Mrs P’ - STOP issuing building consents that squash hundreds of people into ever smaller homes, squashing ever more cars on the road because the public transport here is pathetic! RFT will hit EVERYONE in the pocket even if you don’t own a car. You eat? you buy from a supermarket? All retailers will now increase their prices because their DELIVERY costs will increase. Holy cow, does nobody have any common sense these days??

Smelly

Posted on 30-06-2018 18:29 | By

If they took out all the bus lanes, cyclist lanes, empty footpaths and grass berms there is loads of room for cars. Anyway, a fuel tax here is not going to happen when these Communists and Eco mentalists get booted out.

Ms P

Posted on 29-06-2018 18:15 | By Pania

I cannot believe this utter rubbish. The motorists are being blamed!! REALLY!!! It does not get any simpler than this.... As long as the COUNCIL keep DEVELOPING SUBDIVISIONS and issuing HOUSING PERMITS it can only GET WORSE!

What about the huge cash from new residents?

Posted on 29-06-2018 17:13 | By jed

Growth pays for growth...why on earth do they need to ratchet up even more through taxes?

Route K

Posted on 29-06-2018 16:50 | By Taffy

Perhaps you might be better concentrating your efforts on getting rid of Route K Tolls as a starting point.

What do Motorists pay now?

Posted on 29-06-2018 13:59 | By tabatha

Jan, yes we need better roads, or rather better links to reduce congestion. My main gripe is the money that the people of the Tauranga pay in petrol taxes now and to be lumbered with more. The GST component plus already other tax by government needs to be spent here in our area as well as some outlying areas to service the port. I am not sure of the total take but at one stage fairly close to 50% of the petrol cost at the pump. Yes we have Bayfair being improved but what was planned to change traffic at Bethlehem has been put on delay. Please push for a more fair distribution and make sure money taken from motorist goes to motorists. We hear of cyclists getting cycleways etc. Yes some have cars but the moment they hop on their bike what are they paying towards the Cyclewa

No Regional Fuel Tax in Tauranga!

Posted on 29-06-2018 13:40 | By MarkS

We currently have two toll roads in Tauranga. We collected tolls on the harbour bridge for years. And don’t forget the 66 cent per litre excise tax on petrol & the GST charged on the whole amount (tax on tax)... We ARE already paying our fair share. Say no to a Regional Fuel Tax in Tauranga!

No free money?

Posted on 29-06-2018 12:43 | By Ron

Jan says there is no free money....unless you are a budding lawyer or accountant at university who gets all their student fees paid. But not for struggling families in Welcome Bay who just want to get to work or get to school but have to pay more for petrol. So much for caring for children.

Why blame the motorist?

Posted on 29-06-2018 12:39 | By NJB

I am quite sick of hearing how it is the fault of the motorist that our roads are clogged up, dangerous or inadequate. The reason for all of this is the incompetence & greed of successive governments & councils. When a community grows, the infrastructure to cope with the proposed growth, needs to be the first thing that is addressed. That means if a farmer wants to make $millions from cutting up his farm, he must be the one to provide proper access and services. Look how great the lakes is!!! and yet we all have to crawl around a couple of roundabouts to get in & out. I am sorry I have to use my car to get here & home again. Nothing has been learned from history except when it turns to crap just tax the people some more.

Road issue

Posted on 29-06-2018 12:13 | By just do it

Yes the amount of cars on the road is a big issue. But another issue is the number of people on their phones driving down 15th avenue every night from 4-6pm. I can sit and count 1 out of every 10 cars the driver is texting or talking on his phone. The Start stop from drivers when they text also slows down the drive home. Put a few police officers Monday - Friday on this road and they would get over 100 people in the 2 hr time frame

Road user charge

Posted on 29-06-2018 11:59 | By Kenworthlogger

If the road user charge we all pay actually got used to pay for reading instead of other things we would have fantastic roads....

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