The NZ Transport Agency says tolls on the Northern Gateway Toll Road (NGTR) on State Highway 1 north of Auckland will increase on 1 March by 20 cents to $2.20 for cars, motorcycles and light commercial vehicles, and by 40 cents to $4.40 for heavy commercial vehicles.
The increases are the first since the toll road opened three years ago.
The NZTA’s Regional Director for Auckland and Northland, Stephen Town, says the increases are regrettable but necessary to ensure the toll road remains viable and on-track to repay its debt as planned within 35 years.
“Although the legislation covering the toll road allows for the 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 both impacted on the NZTA’s ability to maintain its debt repayment level, so it has become necessary to adjust the tolls,’ Mr Town says.
Transaction charges introduced in August 2011 to 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 1 March 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 $22.40 - $22 for the ten trips plus a 40c administration fee.
‘To minimise cost and time for road users, we encourage customers to pay by toll pre-pay account or via the website as neither of those payment options attract extra cost,’ says Mr Town.
The toll road is a 7km section of SH1 between Orewa and Puhoi which provides road users a shorter, quicker option to its free alternative – SH17 through Waiwera. Borrowing $158M of the total $372.5M construction cost, meant the NGTR was built ten years earlier than it would have been under traditional funding methods. As at the end of December 2011, the NZTA had repaid $17.5M of the debt.