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Published: 2007-05-18 00:00:00

Environment Waikato will talk with the community about the prospect of using a regional fuel tax to help pay for public transport, and better roading and rail, says chairman Jenni Vernon.

The Government announced yesterday a proposal for regional fuel taxes of up to 10c a litre on petrol and diesel, with preference given to funding projects aimed at reducing congestion.

Environment Waikato, which plays a coordinating role in transport developments within the Waikato region, saw such a tax as potentially being a useful way of helping to provide better services and infrastructure in the region.

“We are, however, mindful of the fact that such a tax would increase people’s day-to-day living costs,” said Cr Vernon.

“So we want to talk to members of the multi-agency Regional Land Transport Committee - and other community and transport stakeholders - about the merits of seeking to have a regional fuel tax applied in the Waikato, and at what level such a tax might be set if it was considered desirable.”

Cr Vernon also welcomed Government initiatives to promote energy efficiency and research and development.

“It is good to see measures which promote energy saving that helps protect the environment.

“Also, the Government’s new tax measures to boost R&D will hopefully assist those searching for solutions to significant environmental problems, such as nitrogen contamination of waterways.”