NZ Green Party
Auckland Bridge walk and cycleway – $10 a pop!

The Auckland Trains blog reports that the Get Across group that’s been advocating for a walk and cycle way across the Harbour Bridge has just sent a detailed proposal to the New Zealand Transport Agency to be considered.

The proposal is for a tolled walk and cycle way. The project would cost $14 to 16 million to build and it would be paid off over 15 years through tolls. The walk and cycle way would be fitted under the bridge using a design that’s been successfully used in Canada to retrofit a bridge.

The proposed tolls would cost $3.90 return for people using their new public transport smart card. (Aucklanders are expected to have these soon as part of the integrated ticketing project. )

However, for tourists or those wanting to just make a one off trip and pay by cash, credit card or EFTPOS, the cost would be $10 return.

Does anybody think it’s a little crazy we’re going to charge people $10 a pop to walk and cycle across the Bridge when it is free to drive? This is a project that would have massive economic benefits for Auckland – including for tourism, congestion, the environment, and for our health.

So long as the Transport Agency thinks that this proposal is technically possible and won’t weaken the bridge, I think the government should just fund this project outright and make it free for everybody. What do you think?

17 thoughts on “Auckland Bridge walk and cycleway – $10 a pop!

  1. Look out, here comes the greens-expect-my-taxes-to-pay-for-everything brigade!

    But wait, the amount for this whole project could easily be slipped out of just the fat consultancy fees absorbed in one of National’s roads of significance.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 9 (-4)

  2. you must be one of those attack-the-consultancy-fees-of-national-significance brigade. don’t you know that the crucial link between puhoi and wellsford is crippling our economy? Ice cream sales in the far north are being held back by the congestion on this crucial stretch of road at least 2 or 3 weeks of the year…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 2 (+4)

  3. Actually, Frog, driving across the harbor bridge is NOT free -it is paid for through car license fees and tax on petrol (neither of which cyclists pay). Even tourists contribute with those taxes rolled into their rental fees

    I am never going to cycle across Auckland harbor bridge. Why should I be forced to pay for a cycling lane?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 8 (-4)

  4. MacDoctor:
    “I am never going to cycle across Auckland harbor bridge. Why should I be forced to pay for a cycling lane?”

    By that reasoning, some people will never drive over the Puhoi-Wellsford Highway, why should they be forced to pay for it?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 2 (+3)

  5. Let’s call it a Cycleway of National Party Significance and then it doesn’t matter what the cost, or whether there is a business case, they’ll just build it and the taxpayer will pick up the cost.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 4 (+9)

  6. Or call it and ECEC (Early Childhood Eductaion Cycleway), then you can throw a billion dollars at it, and the Greens will back it even if it doesn’t lead to any more poeple using it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 4 (-1)

  7. Actually, Frog, driving across the harbor bridge is NOT free

    And don’t forget that for 35 years, motor vehicle drivers who used the Auckland Harbour Bridge had to pay a toll. That was finally removed because the loan had been paid off, and because Muldoon wanted the votes of those on the North Shore.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0 (+3)

  8. @ MacDoctor. The pollution from your car damages my lungs. It also causes climate change which will lead to rising food costs in future and a diminished quality of life for us all. Will you pay me back?

    Also, will you pay me back for the taxes I pay to subsidize health care for the chronically obese – many of whom are obese because Auckland’s obsession with motorways has prevented them from walking/cycling.

    IN real life, most cyclists pay rates which pay for many of the local road improvements in Auckland plus at least half of the public transport operating costs.

    Do they only get to cycle on the local roads? Do you only get to drive on local roads with two wheels on the ground cos you only pay half the cost? You can have 4 wheels on motorways.

    Why can’t we just accept that all transport modes are a legitimate form of government expenditure, put the fuel tax into the general budget, and fund all modes out of Vote Transport based on what is the best investment for us as a nation? Rather than having this crazy system where fuel taxes are only used to build more motorways which actually don’t benefit most drivers at all.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 2 (+1)

  9. MacDoctor,

    There may come a time, depending on how old you are, when, if you want to cross the harbour bridge, walking or cycling will be your only option.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 3 (-1)

  10. decanker

    Look out, here comes the greens-expect-my-taxes-to-pay-for-everything brigade!

    Hold on, here comes the capitalist-dream-brigade telling me my taxes should bail out their failed businesses and increase their already high wages.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 4 (0)

  11. It isn’t free to drive. A motorist either pays road user charges or fuel tax, and for 25 years motorists also paid a toll which recovered the full capital costs of the bridge and the clipons.

    Nothing wrong with a cycleway, walkway that the people who primarily benefit from it pay for. Yet if there are economic benefits to road users on the bridge arising from a cycleway/walkway there should be a proportionate contribution from those road users relative to that (but it wont be the full cost), given the current funding framework.

    Lucy: To claim people are obese because they are prevented from walking and cycling is patently absurd. Do the roads force people to overeat and to not go for a walk near their homes? Or are people simply not responsible for their own choices?

    All transport modes are not legitimate government expenditure. Government doesn’t and shouldn’t spend taxes on aviation or shipping, it doesn’t pay for road transport vehicles, nor should it. Only road users on public roads pay fuel tax, rail and sea modes don’t, for the simple reason that only on roads has a proxy tax been needed to pay for infrastructure. All other modes are able, in theory, to charge directly for those costs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 (0)

  12. Can we please finally constitute that “user pays” is a flawed concept? I have never used the NZ Army, the police, the Courts, R&D grants, investment securities, a hospital (lucky me), superannuation, most roads in the country, a swimming pool and a myriad of other things I pay for.

    As for roads: they are part financed by road users, but increasingly, parts come from the general tax pool. I pay into the transport fund – but not by choice. You gotta have a car to get anywhere in NZ, and thus my rego and fuel tax goes into perpetuating this misery, following the argument that fuel tax, rego and RUC should only be used on roads.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 2 (0)

  13. Just a reply to MacDoctor,
    Pays not to forget that most cyclists also own a car and pay those same road taxes.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 (0)

  14. But if cyclists who also owned a car actually used their cars more they would pay more in road taxes therefore there would be plenty of money for special cycle facilities within State Highway corridors. Registration fees, driver licence fees and the tyre and petrol excise duties were all opposed because they would discourag people from driving but we now know that those fears were unfounded so its a pretty safe bet that they wont discourage people from cycling either.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1 (0)

  15. Russel Norman said “Let’s call it a Cycleway of National Party Significance and then it doesn’t matter what the cost, or whether there is a business case, they’ll just build it and the taxpayer will pick up the cost.”

    But Gareth’s more recent post highlights that it is not the taxpayer picking up the cost. I completly agree with Gareth that diverting funds from othr far more important areas such as maintenance that preserves the investments already made is just plain dumb. In fact the root cause of the problems being addressed by the Roads of National Significance is the same one identified by the Roading Investigation Committee in 1954 – inflation. The 1954 solution was to double all the roading levies to make up for the 100% inflation since 1925. Today’s solution should also be to double all the roading levies to bring them back to their 1955 purchasing power…and to go back to Transit’s old legislated priorities: maintenance, safety, efficiency. The Clark Governments scrapped that simple priority system because it was percieved to disadvantage a key Labour voting block (city office workers) in favour of a key National voting block (farmers and farm workers).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1 (+1)

  16. “But if cyclists who also owned a car actually used their cars more they would pay more in road taxes therefore there would be plenty of money for special cycle facilities within State Highway corridors. Registration fees, driver licence fees and the tyre and petrol excise duties were all opposed because they would discourag people from driving but we now know that those fears were unfounded so its a pretty safe bet that they wont discourage people from cycling either.”

    How can anyone possibly drive more in NZ? We have the highest rate of car ownership coupled with one of the lowest rates of PT mode share in the civilised world, and congestion is now almost 12/7 in Auckland – if that’s not enough to fund cycle facilities, we’ll probably need to sacrifice some sleep, and roam around more in the wee hours.

    Nothing can discourage people from driving, as it is the only viable mode of transport for most of us. Two years ago, people blared out to drive less when petrol would go up to two dollar a litre. It is there now, but nothing has changed. It can not, just as any junky can not decide to quit nilly-willy. It’s called “car dependency” for a reason.
    People are already discouraged heavily from cycling by a Road Code that only imposes duties on them, but no rights at all; by ruthless motorists and countless accidents they get dragged into; by road layouts that are dangerous and unattractive to them; by having to breathe unchecked vehicle fumes; by roads they are prevented from using. We need heaps of tangible encouragement to get anyone in their right mind on a bike in NZ.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 2 (-1)

  17. “Nothing can discourage people from driving, as it is the only viable mode of transport for most of us. Two years ago, people blared out to drive less when petrol would go up to two dollar a litre. It is there now, but nothing has changed.”

    Oh, I don’t know. Surely, there must be some people thinking twice about how they drive and how they maintain the car for maximum efficiency but I agree that the response is not as great as we might have expected. But I wouldn’t say no price would elicit a bigger response. At $2.50 a litre, budgets might start groaning and at that price and up to $3 per litre one would expect inflation (already at 4%) to become unbearable so that something has to give. Of course, such high prices might already be impacting the economy. After all, we’ve already had one quarter of contraction and we await the next GDP figure with baited breath.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1 (-1)

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