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Manukau mayor welcomes transport changes

Manukau mayor welcomes change of direction on transport planning

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis says he is delighted at the government’s decision to widen the guidelines for determining which roading projects go ahead.

Transport Minister Paul Swain has announced he will be altering the government’s Performance Agreements with Transfund and Transit. These Agreements largely determine which projects get funding and, ultimately, which roads are built.

The effect will be to ensure the two organisations take account a wider range of benefits including economic development spin-offs of a project, as well as factors such as the impact on congestion in Auckland, and improving safety.

Transit recently released its draft 10-year state highways programme and is now consulting with regions on the proposals. Mr Swain says he is certain there will be changes to the funding programme before final decisions are made in July.

Sir Barry Curtis says he welcomes the change of direction. “I have had discussions with the Minister about the urgency of issues facing Auckland and I am delighted he has recognised that the guidelines for decision making were too narrow.

“We urgently need funding to unclog the gridlock on our motorway system. But new roads are also important as drivers of economic growth and that will now be an important factor in decision making. I expect the change of direction will impact on the Auckland region substantially.

“The new interchange planned from the southern motorway to Waiouru peninsula at Otara is a good example. The project is expected to take 24,000 vehicle movements a day off residential streets and at the same time open up the area to 15,000 new jobs in East Tamaki. This is a project that will contribute to planned economic and social growth, safety and local road congestion.”

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