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Transport Bill won't deliver the funding needed

Transport Bill won't deliver the funding Auckland needs

Transport Bill won't deliver the funding Auckland needs, says Mayoral Forum

January 17, 2003

Auckland's Mayoral Forum is urgently pulling together a strong regional submission to take to Parliament after hearing today at a special workshop that the new Land Transport Management Bill is unlikely to deliver the funding necessary to complete Auckland's planned transport projects.

A joint workshop of the forum and Regional Land Transport Committee has called on council chief executives to develop a funding and action plan. The region plans to strongly voice its concerns to central Government and the select committee on the limitations of the new Bill. The chief executives will draw on work already under way by a Regional Transport Executive Group.

The Land Transport Management Bill, introduced to Parliament at the end of last year, has been referred to the Transport and Industrial Relations Select Committee and submissions close on February 28. The select committee reports back to Parliament on June 9.

Chair of the Auckland Mayoral Forum and Mayor of North Shore City, George Wood, says, "We have a $1.2billion funding shortfall on our 10 year integrated transport plan as defined in the Auckland Regional Land Transport Strategy. That's a pretty significant gap. And this Bill, as it stands, isn't going to deliver the funding we need. We'll be putting a strong and united Auckland position to the select committee.

"The Bill puts too many conditions on funding options that will limit what we can do," says Mayor Wood. "The Government says it is committed to solving Auckland's transport issues so we have to point out the problems with this Bill and make sure they understand clearly that it's not going to deliver what we need."

Mayor Wood says the region will also have to investigate other possible ways of bridging the funding gap. "We will be working with central government transport agencies like Transit and Transfund to come up with solutions like debt funding. We will also be advocating for broader funding powers to get things done.

"We need greater flexibility than this Bill allows to finance key projects. We'll have to look at other ways to find the increased revenue that we need," he says.

"The Bill only offers us limited opportunities. The conditions put on taking up new funding options are onerous. We need to develop a whole network of improvements and the tolling and public private partnerships provisions are likely to be able to be applied to very few of our projects. That will limit any additional funding we can leverage from the private sector too," says Mayor Wood.

Mayor Wood says the Auckland Mayoral Forum wants to develop a united position and to speed up the implementation of the Auckland region's planned integrated transport networks.

"The Bill isn't going to quicken our progress and we have to give that strong message to the Government and the select committee."

The region's chief executives will report back to the Mayors at their next Mayoral Forum on January 31.

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