The Confidence and Supply Agreement between Labour and the Greens directly threatens the integrity of the National Land Transport Fund, says Road Transport Forum chief executive Ken Shirley.
“Prioritising use of the NLTF towards rail infrastructure, cycling and walking shows contempt for the user-pays integrity of the fund,” says Shirley.
The National Land Transport Fund is currently ring-fenced for roading projects and paid for by road users through petrol excise and road user charges.
“Unless Labour and the Greens have plans to start making rail users and cyclists contribute to the fund then this deal is a real kick in the teeth to motorists and the road transport industry.”
Shirley says the reason trucking operators accept the high level of road user charges is due to the direct relationship the fund has to the provision and maintenance of New Zealand’s roading network.
“Using it as a slush fund to pay for other transport modes will breed a high level of resentment,” says Shirley.
“If the new Government wishes to expand the NLTF to other modes then it should investigate the feasibility of other modes contributing to it. For instance, there is no reason why KiwiRail and other rail users should not pay ‘rail user charges’ to maintain and develop the rail network. To do otherwise is cross-subsidisation.”
Shirley says the RTF is also looking forward to future announcements regarding an alternative to the East-West Link now that the project has been cancelled by this deal, as the congestion problem around Onehunga and Penrose won’t just disappear.