Close call but 2015-2025 Budget Passes
fter five hours of debate (well rehashing stuff while being stuck on a Merry-Go-Round for the most part) the Long Term Budget 2015-2025 was passed 10-9 with two away today.
This means the Transport Levy comes into affect July 1 as well as other budgetary items.
From Auckland Council:
Auckland Council adopts 10-year budget
Auckland Council has adopted its 10-year budget, setting rates, introducing an interim transport levy and agreeing on the level of investment in the region for the next 10 years.
General rates will increase by an average of 2.5 per cent in the first year of the budget (2015/16); 3.2 per cent in year two and 3.5 per cent from then on to help pay for the essential services the council delivers.
In addition, to help fund a number of crucial transport projects including busways, cycleways and walking options over the next three years, an interim transport levy will be introduced while the council works with central government on a transport accord to find alternative funding sources.
Mayor Len Brown says that this is a watershed moment for Auckland.
“During our consultation Aucklanders told us in record numbers that they wanted us to keep rates affordable and debt low, but they also wanted to see immediate action tackling Auckland’s transport issues,” he says.
“After robust debate, we have made the hard choices for Auckland.
“We have to continue investing in public transport so that in future Auckland has the necessary infrastructure in place rather than traffic being gridlocked.
“After decades of under-investment, the public said clearly their priority is for us to fix Auckland’s transport issues, and the interim transport levy will enable a number of critical transport projects, from roads to buses to cycleways.
“This budget will have a profound positive impact on Auckland. It will produce an Auckland we can be rightly proud of, and more importantly, an Auckland that keeps moving.”
Just a note on Rates movements and savings:
Okay Rebekka and I have taken a 10.8% rates rise owing to the Long Term Plan passed earlier today.
It is made up of a 3.4% general rise and 7.4% from the Transport Levy herself
Now if the Transport Levy gets South Auckland’s public transport network to par enough it means we ditch a car and pull around $2,400/year savings.
Transport Levy is an extra $2.19/week
Ditching the car as a result from the levy and an actual Public Transport system is: $46/week saving
$2.19 – $46 = $43 savings/week or there about (I have incorporated cost of HOP card fares)
I will pick up reactions through the rest of the week but first off the block is Generation Zero:
Generation Zero supports Auckland Council’s 10 year budget
Youth organisation, Generation Zero, is supportive of the 10 year Budget that Auckland Council passed today, specifically welcoming the funding for new cycling, walking and public transport projects.
Spokesperson Dr Sudhvir Singh explains; “This budget prioritises the essential public transport, walking and cycling projects that Aucklanders have called for, and is another step in the right direction for our city.”
The Mayor’s budget is proposing to fund immediate new investment in transport of $500 million over the next 3 years with an interim fixed levy of $2 per week on Auckland households. Dr Singh; “A $2 per week interim transport levy on each household is not ideal, and preferably would have been consulted on more extensively, but not investing in transport choices in Auckland will be more costly in the long term.”
The Council received over 20,000 pieces of feedback from the community on the budget, which demonstrated clear support for cycling and public transport. Dr Singh; “Cycling and public transport were prioritised as the key pieces of infrastructure that the public wanted to see funded in Auckland and it’s great to see these projects prioritised in this budget.”
This budget has also taken on the recommendations made in Generation Zero’s report Fix Our City, which proposed prioritisation of walking, cycling and public transport projects. Over 3000 Aucklanders submitted in favour of the essential transport budget proposed in Fix Our City.
Dr Singh; “Aucklanders have called for greater transport choices and the Council has responded with this budget. We now call on the government to get on board with Auckland’s agenda and to immediately start funding the City Rail Link.”
I will pick up more reactions as they come through