No Consensus in Funding the Integrated Transport Program

I don’t give the CBG my vote of confidence

 

Yesterday the Consensus Building Group that was appointed by the Mayor and cost the ratepayer some $1.1 million released its final report into how we “could” plug the funding gap in $60 billion worth of transport projects in Auckland.

The CBG’s final “consensus?” Well listening to the live stream yesterday their consensus was that “Doing Nothing” was not an option. No seriously that is what they came to after seven months and $1.1 million of our money being spent.

What does Auckland get however? We get 24.5 cents per litre extra of Petrol Tax from 2015-2022 on top of the extra 9 cents already on its way (2013-2015), some tolls and having the off ramps of the motorways in Auckland “tolled” otherwise known as road pricing.

What does Auckland NOT get? We didn’t get the chance to debate the sell down of some existing assets. We did not get the chance to Public Private Partnership out aspects of the City Rail Link. We did not get the chance really (although it was done in the Integrated Transport Plan and Auckland Plan submissions earlier) to say what projects should stay and what should get the chop. We could not look at options such as a Lottery like how the Sydney Opera House was built, betterment levies, a bed and departure (airport) tax, or a specialised Sales tax like the Americans do when fund-raising for infrastructure.

 

Thanks to the Mayor’s ideology, the city got pigeon holed into what would be picking in effect the Worst of Both Worlds when the CBG asked for feedback on the two options; rates or taxes. Now we do cop the Worst of Both Worlds and will be effectively slugged both options in actual effects.

 

Essentially as I do not support the Integrated Transport Program, I do not in any way shape or form support any aspect of the Consensus Building Group’s final report.

As I have said from the get go, BIN IT and start right over. Only problem with that aspect for the moment is that Central Government have lugged some hideous road option plans upon the city that keeps costs high. We also have little control over that unless we boot the government out and get a new one that scales back some of the roading options.

But, for the rest of it the Council can scale back some of its projects and lower its part of the transport bill needing funding.

This aspect we can start again and can do so when the 2015 Integrated Transport Program comes out for consultation next year. I am also aware that any large changes to an ITP could trigger a rewrite to the Auckland Plan. The Auckland Plan that was set by the mayor effectively forms the framework to which the ITP has look at delivering the mayor’s transport wish list.

In saying that it is no use heaping it on Auckland Transport with the ITP and resultant funding mess. They like us got pigeon holed by the Mayor through the Auckland Plan and now have the not so fortunate task on trying to deliver the ITP.

 

Again, I still can not support the Integrated Transport Program in its current form nor the final report of the Consensus Building Group.

By the looks of it the Minister of Transport – Gerry Brownlee just blasted down effectively all the options the CBG group “proposed” yesterday despite their lack of “consensus.” To make things more interesting The Greens effectively blasted the options down as well (although for different reasons than Gerry). Yet some of the CBG’s participants including Campaign for Better Transport endorsed the final CBG report which effectively gives weight to endorsing the ITP.

That conclusion can be easily reached as the CBG were looking at ways of plugging the funding gap for the ITP and any endorsing of the final report supports the ITP. This makes things even more interesting as The Greens don’t want the taxes effectively as they are while CBT endorse taxing the living daylights out of us. I might be sensing a paradox here folks as I would have just said “NO” to the entire lot!

Below is the Consensus Building Group’s Final Report as well as the Integrated Transport Plan

The CBG Final Report

The ITP

 

Key to Acronyms

  • CBG: Consensus Building Group
  • ITP: Integrated Transport Plan
  • AT: Auckland Transport
  • CBT: Campaign for Better Transport