Building work on motorway east of Tauranga, designated as one of the seven most important roading projects in New Zealand, could begin as early as next year.
But Transport Minister Steven Joyce says public agreement to 35 years of road tolls would be needed for the Eastern Link from Te Maunga to Paengaroa.
Mr Joyce says about a quarter of the projected cost of $450 million could come from tolls.
The Transport Agency says charging private cars $2 and trucks $4 would allow the start date to be brought forward to next year, with completion by 2016. That compares with starting the project between 2014 and 2019 without tolls.