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Control of Funds Should Wait Until After Election


Control Of Regional Transport Funds Should Wait Unit ARC Elections In October. No Public Confidence In Present ARC.

Confirmation of the additional funding for public transport and new roading is welcome - although it is a pity that the Government finds it necessary to further tax the motorist rather than divert more of its already large petrol tax take to supply these additional funds.

What is alarming is the great haste with which changes are being introduced which will give the Auckland Regional Council huge new responsibilities and control over regional assets.

The additional funds will not become available until next year so why is it necessary to hand over Infrastructure Auckland funds to the ARC as early as July 1st this year?

This indecent haste will put control of all those funds into the hands of a Regional Council which has been hugely discredited for its abysmal handling of the regional rates issue.

And why is it necessary to put the new ARC companies in place at such short notice?

This process of setting up the new transport control structure should wait until after the local body elections in October when the Regional Council will almost certainly have a significantly different membership than it has today.

The ARC has had responsibility for regional transport planning for many years - with precious little to show for it - and it was hoped that a new independent body would be able to turn all that planning into results on the ground - a vastly improved public transport system and some key roading projects under construction.

It is vitally important that the new funding be put to use immediately it becomes available next year - but the bias of the present ARC in favour of rail may well leave bus and ferry travellers [the vast majority of public transport users] with little or no improvement.

Vital decisions on new roading priorities and public transport investment could be made before the elections - and that could be disastrous for Aucklanders who have totally lost confidence with the present ARC.

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