Government urged to hit the gas on revamp of road user charges

Infrastructure New Zealand (INZ) is pushing for new road user charges to be brought in to help relieve pressure on strained transport funding.

The association praised the changes already made to increase revenue in the land transport system, which included electric vehicles and plug-in hybrids now contributing through road user charges, but it said that would only tie the country over for so long.

The ACT-National coalition agreement promised the government would work towards replacing fuel excise taxes with electronic road user charges for all vehicles.

INZ chief executive Nick Leggett said it was vital for this to be rolled out.

“We know roads are in a pretty poor condition around the country, so maintaining them and renewing them is going to be really important. We should be considering these new tolling rules to better maintain and renew the roads we’re going to build.

“I think what we’ve got to assume is that nobody gets a free ride, and that if you use the road in your vehicle or you enjoy goods that are moved in a vehicle, you will be expected to pay on a per kilometre basis for that. The most equitable way to do that is to ensure everybody is working off the same system.”

Leggett said electronic road user charges appeared to be the fairest and most equitable way to collect revenue from road users.

Transporting New Zealand CEO Nick Leggett

“It’s essentially monitoring the vehicle and capturing the distance that that vehicle travels and the roads it travels on and the weight of that vehicle, and charging it accordingly for its use on the road… We want to see that rolled out overtime to every vehicle so everybody is fairly paying the right amount.

“In our view, overtime we’re not going to be able to use fuel excise taxes to fund roads because there are going to be fewer and fewer vehicles in our system that are reliant on petrol to be powered.”

Concern from road users around change was understandable, Leggett said.

“We’ve got to take our time to introduce those and have a good discussion with road users and all New Zealanders, but recognise that what we’ve got at the moment isn’t going to deliver us what we need to have the kind of road and transport network that we need to build and be productive as a country.”

According to the news on Radio New Zealand

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