Coming freight volumes will make fast lane charges unavoidable

Saturday 23 April 2011, 9:47AM
By New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development

The volume of freight being moved within New Zealand will need to grow by about 70 to 75% during the next three decades just to maintain current economic growth rates, a development which surprises 75% of New Zealanders.

80% of New Zealanders expect traffic congestion to worsen as a result, according to a major report being released on Tuesday (April 26) on how to manage future freight volumes – to grow living standards.

The report – the result of a two year’s research by the New Zealand Business Council for Sustainable Development – will say there is no remedy to managing the volumes without introducing congestion charges.

Providing an option for freight movers and motorists to pay to use faster lanes at peak periods is one of a combination of several policy options being put forward as part of “an agenda for action”.

Business Council Chief Executive Peter Neilson says the project, in which 45 companies and organisations participated, has found New Zealanders now accept that the country cannot afford to simply build more roads and motorways to overcome peak hour congestion.

The report will recommend a raft of solutions for the Government, local government and the freight sector to discuss in order to create a “shared view” on how to manage for major freight volume growth the country needs.