[b:9563a25f91]Tolls of $6 proposed for Auckland Harbour Bridge, $3 to enter city [/b:9563a25f91]
17.03.06 1.55pm UPDATE

A government report on tackling Auckland's congested roads suggests charging motorists $6 to cross the Harbour Bridge. The Ministry of Transport report makes a number of suggestions for charging people to drive into the city, including the Harbour Bridge option. Other proposals are $3 to enter a cordon - essentially the Auckland isthmus - at 15 charging points, or charging motorists $5 a day to enter the central business district.

The maximum daily charge under all the proposals would be $6, and the tolls would apply only between 6am and 10am, Monday to Friday. Another of the five schemes in the report would involve a $10 a day additional charge on parking on both private and public property.

The report was released today by Transport Minister David Parker, Finance Minister Michael Cullen and Transport Secretary Robin Dunlop. "It's time to recognise that we cannot pave our way out of traffic," said Mr Dunlop. "These schemes represent a balance between the need to reduce congestion and raise revenue while minimising the social, environmental and economic impacts to Aucklanders."

Mr Parker said: "The government has an open mind and has not taken a position on this. Depending on what comes out of the consultation process, the government may decide to look at the options further or decide to take no further action. "That is why it is important that Auckland has its say because congestion is a major issue for the city, as it is in most large cities."

A six-week consultation period starts today and ends on 28 April. Submissions can be made to the Ministry of Transport, which will be consulting with local government, business groups, non-government organisations and the public.

The ministry will then report back to ministers on the outcome of the consultation.

[b:9563a25f91]Q&A [/b:9563a25f91]

When would it apply?
Monday to Friday, between 6am and 10am.

Who would be exempt?
Public transport and emergency vehicles. Taxis included, but this could be re-examined.

What about commercial vehicles?
Charged at the same rate as private cars as each contributes roughly equally to congestion.

Would residents have to pay?
Yes, except for the parking levy scheme.