Cutting back spending should be the first task for Auckland's council, ahead of targeting road users, a mayoral candidate said.
On Wednesday the government committed to cover about half the cost of the $2.5 billion City Rail Link project.
Discussion was now focusing on how the Auckland Council would fund the remainder - with asset sales and road toll charges being considered.
Businesswoman Vic Crone, who is running for mayor, hailed news of the government's commitment as a good step forward.
However, the council needed to review its own spending first before deciding to introduce a toll, Ms Crone said.
"I don't think we can expect ratepayers to keep footing the bill, so the first priority must be to cut council waste, to control our spending, to make sure we're delivering the core council services," she said.
"Just going straight to ratepayers is not the right thing to do."