|6 September 2001|
City Council Blasts Bigger Truck Proposals
Christchurch residents will face a rise in rate bills if the Government allows longer and heavier trucks on the roads because of the increased damage to roads.
This is one of the submissions made by the Christchurch City Council to the draft Land Transport Rule on vehicle mass and dimensions and the Transit NZ proposal for bigger trucks now being considered by Parliament.
In its 39-page submission, the Council says its opposition centres on concerns about the impacts on road safety, the environment, asset management costs, funding impact on ratepayers, compliance issues and whether the suggested economic-industry benefits and costs are realistic.
The Council says it is concerned about the level and depth of analysis by Transit NZ as it believes it is "overly simplistic and presents a picture that is not a complete and robust assessment of the impacts and likely implications "
"The Council considers that insufficient attention has been given by Transit NZ to the potential adverse impacts of the proposals on the majority of the state highway users."
If trucks increased in size the Council says it does not accept that fewer trucks would be on the roads as Transit NZ suggests.
"The suggestion is contrary to both overseas experience and to economic theory," the Council submission says.
The proposals have significant negative road and safety implications, it says.
Allowing larger trucks would reduce the amount of freight carried by rail and shipping which were transport modes with far better safety, environmental and energy efficiency records than trucks.
The proposals could lead to an increase in wear and tear on all roads and structures in the city, the Council says.
If trucks were confined to a limited number of key industrial routes that would mean bridges, culverts and retaining walls, as well as pavements, would have to be strengthened.
Preliminary costs for the first five years, related to asset management matters only, would probably mean a rate increase from 2-3 per cent, the Council says. On-going additional costs would amount to between $910,000 to $1,290,000 each year.
The Council suggests that improvements to training, licensing vehicles, better suspensions and brakes, could take place before larger trucks were introduced.
"The high level of breaches of the law by the trucking industry, especially with regards to safety issues, indicates that a well-organised, rigorous and well-resourced audit or enforcement regime should be in place now and should be shown to be effective," says the Council.
Further information: Stuart Woods, Transportation Policy Leader: 941 8615.
Comments: Chairman of the City Services Committee: Cr. Denis ORourke: 021 632 670 or the chairwoman of the Road Safety Co-ordinating Committee, Cr. Sally Thompson: 025 288 6751.
Copies of the full submissions are available by email from Stuart Woods: firstname.lastname@example.org.