In its first month of operation, the Regional Fuel Tax (RFT) has generated $13.2 million (excluding GST), with the first projects made possible by this revenue already announced.
Projects include delivering rural road safety upgrades in Rodney and Franklin, and six new red light safety cameras at dangerous intersections across Auckland.
Building the vital Matakana link road, funding ferry terminal upgrades and a new bus interchange in downtown Auckland are other early priorities.
Of the $13.2 million collected from 1–31 July this year, $11 million directly funds critical transport projects across Auckland with a one-off set-up fee accounting for around $1 million, and rebates and service costs accounting for the balance.
Auckland Mayor Phil Goff says, “With a 78 per cent increase over four years in road fatalities and serious injuries in Auckland, spending on road safety will be an immediate priority from this revenue.
“Last year 64 people died on Auckland’s roads and 749 suffered serious injuries. The increase in deaths and serious injuries was three times higher than elsewhere in New Zealand. The human, social and economic cost to our community of the road toll is huge and must be addressed.
“Aside from road safety spending, the focus of new investment from the RFT is to fix Auckland’s congested transport network.
“The Matakana link road, for example, will help decongest the Rodney region and unlock growth in Warkworth and its surrounding areas. Warkworth is expected to grow to a substantial satellite town over the next three decades with around 1000 hectares of land identified for future urban growth.
“The RFT will initially help fund and allow the start of stage 2 of the Eastern Busway, improve access to the airport, increase investment in park and rides and meet the costs of electric trains and bus priority improvements.
“We are playing catch-up after decades of under-investment in Auckland’s transport infrastructure. The RFT allows us, at last, to take action to address growing traffic gridlock in our city which causes huge frustration, and costs the city and country billions of dollars in lost productivity.
“Without the $4.3 billion that the RFT helps raise for investment in transport no new initiatives in transport would be possible and congestion would get markedly worse as our population grows by 30,000 – 40,000 a year.
“The RFT is a fairer way of generating revenue to invest in our transport network rather than putting the cost on rates which bears no relationship to use of the transport network. Without the RFT Aucklanders would have faced an additional increase to rates of over 10 per cent to raise the same level of funding provided by the RFT.
“We will report regularly to Aucklanders and council on how the money raised by the RFT is being spent,” Phil Goff said.
Quarterly reports will go to the council’s Finance and Performance committee with the first report due in November.
The NZ Transport Agency administers the Regional Fuel Tax, including the collection of the tax from fuel distributors, the payment of rebates for exempt use, monitoring and enforcement.
All fuel distributors within the Auckland region provide the Transport Agency with a monthly tax return with details of the fuel they have delivered. The Transport Agency uses this information to track and monitor all fuel supplied and investigate irregularities as needed.
The Transport Agency forwards the RFT collected to Auckland Council, less any rebates paid and a service cost. The first payment also involves a deduction of a one-off $1 million payment to the NZ Transport Agency as prescribed by legislation to cover the set-up costs for administering the RFT.