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Changes to Transfund Funding Allocation Framework

Changes to Transfund Funding Allocation Framework

July 17, 2002

Proposed changes to the way the government provides money through Transfund New Zealand for local transport projects have met with general approval from North Shore City Council.

But in a review of the changes, discussed at yesterday’s (July 16) strategy and finance committee meeting, the city would like the government to go further.

Major transport projects that provide significant benefits to a wide local or regional area are funded by Transfund – after hearing applications from local authorities such as North Shore City.

The committee was told that the proposed changes to the funding framework place less emphasis on cost/benefit ratios and more on qualitative factors such as strategies and environmental issues, as well as a greater opportunity for supporting walking, cycling and public transport.

North Shore City’s senior transport planner, Graeme Read, says the main implications for the city are the greater opportunities for the funding of such projects as cycleways and walkways, and less uncertainty as to whether projects will be funded in the medium to longer term.

Mr Read says the changes will allow the government to have a more direct influence on the allocation of funds for projects, yet do not advance the regional transport governance improvements for which his organisation has advocated. The council has consistently argued for the early creation of an integrated passenger transport authority.

North Shore City Council has an extensive investment in the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system over the next four years, which is expected to provide major benefits to bus travellers, but has long been critical of the region’s cumbersome transport planning system.

Chairperson of the North Shore City’s strategy and finance committee, Tony Holman, says the proposed changes are a step forward.

“But, because the governance issues have not been addressed, the region will continue to struggle with an administrative nightmare while trying to work logically and systematically to try and improve the area’s transport issues,” says Councillor Holman.

He says the council can make further submissions on the changes. “We would like to see a more rational structure for managing transport infrastructure and services in the region, and to review subsidy rates and fairness.

“Transfund needs to quickly define and provide information on the procedures for submitting new projects under the new regime, and to provide financial assistance to meet the extra workload involved in funding applications,” says Tony Holman.

(ends)

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