Safety improvements for Hamilton’s transport network, and work to reduce future congestion, can happen sooner if Government enables a regional fuel tax outside Auckland.
That was the key message in Hamilton City Council’s presentation to the Select Committee for the Land Transport Management (Regional Fuel Tax) Amendment Bill yesterday. The submission was delivered by Councillor Dave Macpherson, Chair of the Council’s Growth and Infrastructure Committee, and by Blair Bowcott, the Council’s Executive Director Special Projects.
Mr Bowcott says Hamilton’s presentation was well received.
“We are supportive of the Bill and are seeking an amendment to allow a fuel tax on a sub-regional basis, such as Waikato District and Hamilton City Councils,” Mr Bowcott says.
Cr Macpherson says the proposed fuel tax would bring benefits for all aspects of the city’s transport network.
“The Government has indicated a fuel tax is only for Auckland at this stage, but we believe there are strong grounds for a smaller sub-regional approach where that area shares similar, or connected, transport issues,” Cr Macpherson says.
“A fuel tax in our sub-region would enable us to intervene early and address congestion, safety improvements and transport options which are unaffordable under current funding models.”
Hamilton City Council’s draft 10-Year Plan proposes a $251 million investment for transport improvements over the next 10 years, but revenue from a fuel tax would enable projects to be developed sooner. It would also allow some currently unfunded improvements to be progressed, including four-laning the city’s ring road, building a new cross-city connector road, creating a park and ride facility and further enhancing transport options including public transport, walking and cycling.
Due to the significance of these unfunded projects for the city, the Council’s submission requests a fuel tax is available to areas outside of Auckland before 2021.