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Trolley bus funding

7 April 2005

Trolley bus funding issue goes to Regional Land Transport Committee

Greater Wellington Regional Council’s Public Transport Committee has sent Land Transport New Zealand’s proposal to fund its share of the upgrade and operation of Wellington’s trolley buses from part of the Wellington Transport Package to the Regional Land Transport Committee for consideration.

“Upgrading and operating the trolley bus fleet will require money to be allocated from the $225 million of additional Crown funding provided in the government’s Wellington Transport Package announced in January,” said Glen Evans, Chairperson of the Public Transport Committee.

“The Regional Land Transport Committee is the appropriate forum to consider how that package should be allocated.” The total public subsidy required for running the trolley bus system over the next ten years is estimated to be in the region of $40 million. Of that, up to $15 million will be needed to cover the cost of running the system, including the upgrade of the fleet, above that of a fleet of diesel buses.

The public costs of operation and upgrading are shared between Greater Wellington and Land Transport New Zealand. On March 24th Land Transport New Zealand, the government’s funding agency, gave its approval of funding to retain trolley bus services in Wellington, and decided to allocate $7.5 million from the government’s transport package as part of its share of the upgrade and operational costs. The Public Transport Committee has now asked the Regional Land Transport Committee to consider that proposed use of crown allocation for continuation of trolley bus services.

“We are concerned at the way in which the additional crown funding has been allocated, and the impact that this may have on Greater Wellington’s ability to fund our share of the trolley bus upgrade,” said Glen Evans. “Proper process on such an important issue is vital.

While the delay is regrettable, it is important that we get clarity about how this substantial amount of crown funding is allocated. We will then be in a position to finalise a decision on the continuation of the trolley buses. This matter will be considered at a meeting of the Regional Land Transport Committee to be called at an early date. Membership of the Committee includes the Mayors of the region’s cities, representatives of Land Transport New Zealand, Transit New Zealand and railways, six community representatives, and six regional councillors.

ENDS

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