The Hibiscus & Bays Local Board is opposing the tolling of Penlink in no uncertain terms, telling Waka Kotahi/NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) that unless there is a bus/T2 lane available from day one, drivers should not be charged to use the route.
Chair Gary Brown says tolling works against a key objective of Penlink – to relieve congestion through Silverdale at peak times.
The local board’s feedback to NZTA last month says that without provision for public transport and a transit lane, there is likely to be undue pressure on the Silverdale interchange, which is already at capacity. It also says that it would create inequities for those using the free alternative route, because of the cost caused by distance and congestion.
“We recommend any dedicated bus lane and infrastructure be built to make public transport an attractive option, from day one,” the local board feedback says.
With the final design of the route yet to be finalised and revealed, a further issue raised by members is the need to investigate building northern on/off motorway ramps at Redvale, to avoid further congestion at Silverdale.
Finally, the local board considers the level of toll proposed, at $4 each way for light vehicles on the full 7km route, is too high.
Brown says NZTA predicts that as many as 12,000 vehicles could use the route each day, amassing $40,000 per day in tolls.
“NZTA is suggesting 30 percent of that would cover the cost of tolling, and 70 percent would go to maintenance,” Brown says. “If the toll was halved, and 50 percent went to costs and 50 percent to maintenance it would surely increase patronage on the road.”