Is a congestion charging the solution for Tauranga’s traffic problems?
Councillor Steve Morris suggests that charging a toll on trucks entering the Port during peak hour could reduce congestion and provide more funding for transport infrastructure.
While congestion charging can be useful, this is a band-aid solution for Tauranga’s problems. It doesn’t address the fundamental problem with our transport network – that it is heavily congested because there are no viable alternatives to driving.
Supporting traffic flows to the port has been used to justify extremely expensive roading investments the value of approximately $630 million – the Tauranga Eastern Link, Hairini Underpass and still-to-be-finished Bayfair to Baypark Link. Commuters can use these routes as well – but only for driving, they do not provide adequate options for walking, cycling and public transport.
What could this money have been spent on that would have improved the ability of all of us (including port freight) to move around the city?
Bus priority on the major routes through and into Tauranga leading to a more better more reliable bus service? A more efficient rail corridor? Safety improvements on SH2? A city-wide, separated cycle network?
These options would create a less congested, safer roading network and void any need to raise the question of more tolls which are considered when a city provides a full suite of transport mode options but still struggles with congestion.
More tolls are a minor and temporary fix if we can’t address the bigger issues for the city.
Give us a frequent, reliable bus service with priority lanes and we’ll bus to work.
Give us safe separated cycleways and we’ll cycle to work, school and play.
Plan the city in a way that helps us to give up our cars and we’ll gladly do so.
Do the mahi (work) Cr Morris and your fellow councillors that we have voted you into office to do.