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Transport Crisis Made Worse By Cut In Funding

AUCKLAND BUSINESS FORUM

1 February 2002

Media Release

Auckland’s Transport Crisis Made Worse By Cut Back In Government Funding

A report confirming reduced funding of roading projects in Auckland in the last three years highlights a scandalous lack of political will by the Government to resolve the region’s traffic crisis.

“Auckland’s traffic congestion will rapidly worsen if that neglect is not replaced by a “cast iron’ commitment to fund the Auckland Mayoral Forum’s action plan to complete the region’s long-planned motorway network by 2007,” said Michael Barnett, Chairman of the Auckland Business Forum.

He was commenting on an analysis of Transfund reports released today by the Business Forum confirming that since 1998/1999 Auckland’s funding from Transfund for:

- Total road funding has fallen by $50 million or 23%;

- Roading capital works has fallen $61 million or 45%; and,

- State Highway capitals works has fallen $53 million (or 49%) and has fallen every year during that period.

Yet over the same period, the total income for the National Roading Fund has increased by more than 10%, from $1111 million in 1998/99 to $1240 million in 2001/02.

Mr Barnett said that the Auckland business community strongly supported the Mayoral Forum’s action plan to complete key transport projects by 2007. “Expected to cost between $1440 million and $2400 million, it is obvious we cannot action these projects on the current State Highway capital budget of drip feeding $55 million a year.”

“We need a billion dollar fund established immediately that can be drawn down on just as fast as contractors can complete the projects.”

The key is for the government to give a strong commitment to support the Mayoral Forum’s action plan with a public programme, a $300 million a year budget and definite timetable to ensure the projects are completed no later than 2007, said Mr Barnett.

With a third of New Zealand’s population and a similar proportion of the nation’s gross domestic product (GDP) coming from Auckland, it is reasonable to assume that more than $400 million of the country’s roading funds is generated in the Auckland region.

“But Transfund’s own figures show that less than 20% of the $862 million allocated from the National Roading Fund for 2001/02 is budgeted to be returned to Auckland. At the very least, Auckland should be getting another $100 million a year.”

“Clearly, the time for active leadership has arrived. Government and in particular the Minister of Finance, Michael Cullen and Minister of Transport, Mark Gosche must take charge and make the funds needed available immediately,” said Mr Barnett.

- For more information contact Michael Barnett, Ph: (09) 309 6100


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