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Progress On Transport At Auckland Mayoral Forum

Media release
4 June 2003


Progress On Transport At Auckland Mayoral Forum


The Government and the Auckland Mayoral Forum are setting up a joint team of central and local government officials to find ways of funding the accelerated development of Auckland's transport network.

The region’s mayors met with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Michael Cullen and Minister of Transport Paul Swain at the latest Mayoral Forum to discuss the region’s transport funding shortfalls. The establishment of the joint team is one outcome of that meeting.

The team will report back by the end of June and the Mayoral Forum will examine the recommendations at its July 11 meeting.

Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis says, "All the mayors are as one on this issue and I was delighted at the Ministers’ understanding and strong support. They are clearly aware of the situation and of the need to work in partnership.

“Completing the regional transport network, including improvements to public transport, is expected to cost $5 billion. We already have identified where $2.5 billion will come from. But that leaves a funding gap of $2.5 billion.

“The key issue we are facing is how to raise that money," Sir Barry says.

“It is not going to come from the government and the Auckland region must find ways to raising it. We are definitely not looking for funding at the expense of other regions’ transport needs.

“It’s a huge challenge but I am certain we can do it because we cannot afford to fail. The ever-worsening transport blockages on our roads are the biggest challenge the Auckland region has ever faced.

“We are considering options such as a petrol tax and borrowing in the short term, and congestion pricing, and traffic flow management in the long term.

“The government does not have a bottomless purse and it has been clear for some time that it will be unable to provide the money. However it does have a role to play in making the necessary legislative and administrative changes needed for authorities in the Auckland region to raise the funding. The Ministers said they are committed to making those changes.”

[ends]

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