The NZ Transport Agency is reminding drivers that tolls on the Northern Gateway Toll Road (NGTR) on State Highway 1 north of Auckland will increase this Thursday, 1 March, for all vehicles using the highway.
Tolls for cars, light commercial vehicles and motorcycles will increase by 20 cents a trip to $2.20, and the toll for heavy commercial vehicles increases by 40 cents a trip to $4.40.
The increases are the first since the toll road opened three years ago.
The NZTA's National Tolls Manager, Andy Thackwray, says the increases are necessary to ensure that repayment of the funds borrowed to construct the highway early remain on track.
"Although the legislation covering the toll road allows for tolls to be annually adjusted in line with increases in the Consumer Price Index (CPI), they haven't increased since the road opened in January 2009. Inflation and the 2010 GST increase have made it necessary to adjust the tolls," says Mr Thackwray.
The toll road is a seven kilometre-long section of SH1 between Orewa and Puhoi which provides road users with a shorter, quicker option to its free alternative - SH17 through Orewa and Waiwera. Borrowing $158m of the total $372.5m construction cost allowed the highway to be built ten years earlier than it would have been under traditional funding methods. Tolls are used to repay the funds borrowed, and at the end of December 2011, the NZTA had repaid $17.5m.
Transaction charges introduced in August 2011to better reflect the cost of processing some toll payment methods will not increase. They remain at 40 cents for payment by kiosk and $3.70 when payment is made by phone. Transaction charges apply each time one or more tolls are paid for. For example, from Thursday, the total cost of purchasing one toll trip at a kiosk will be $2.60 - a $2.20 toll plus a 40c administration charge - and the total cost of purchasing 10 trips at a kiosk will be will be $22.40 - $22 for the ten trips plus the 40c administration fee. The total cost of purchasing one toll trip by phone will be $5.90 - a $2.20 toll plus the $3.70 administration charge. Ten trips bought by phone will cost $25.70 - $22 for the tolls plus the $3.70 administration charge.
There is no administration fee for tolls paid on-line at www.tollroad.govt.nz(external link), or for 'set and forget' toll accounts.
'Going on-line or opening an account enables drivers to get the most effective use out of the toll road," says Mr Thackwray. "Costs are kept to a minimum because neither of those payment options attract the extra administration charge, and there is no need for drivers to delay their travel by having to stop and wait in a queue to pay."