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Council comments on proposed funding allocation

13 April 2005

Council comments on proposed funding allocation

Land Transport New Zealand is proposing to lend around $80 million of the funding allocated to Auckland next financial year to the national programme, Auckland City’s Transport and Urban Linkages Committee heard today.

The funding would be used to progress priority projects in the national programme and will be refunded to the region in later years.

“We are concerned that Land Transport New Zealand needs to consider borrowing regional funds, generated from the 5 cent per litre petrol tax, for the national programme,” says Councillor Richard Simpson, the committee’s chairperson.

“Land Transport New Zealand’s proposal signals an overall funding issue for transport projects in the future.

“To a large extent, this can be attributed to escalations in construction and maintenance costs relating to the transport network.

“We are concerned that cost increases will mean the level of funding available becomes a problem for the region once again,” says Mr Simpson.

The committee wants funding secured to progress Transit New Zealand’s Harbour Bridge to City, Newmarket Viaduct and the Newmarket to Greenlane auxiliary lane projects.

“While we would prefer the normal national funding pool to be used, we support regional funding being used by Transit to get these key projects moving as they have benefits for the city, region and country,” says Mr Simpson.

The committee considers the allocation of regional funding from the new petrol tax to Transit New Zealand’s travel demand management project a low priority. (The project proposes traffic signals at motorway on ramps.)

“Until Transit demonstrates that this ramp metering project will improve the overall road network and agrees to cover the cost for any local road improvements required to minimise the impact of this initiative, Auckland City will view it as a low priority.

“We believe rail projects, including the Newmarket station remodelling and double tracking of the western line, have a higher priority than Transit’s ramp metering project,” says Mr Simpson.

The council supports the use of regional funding for the completion of the central transit corridor, Project Greenlane and bus priority projects.

“While these projects are within Auckland City’s boundaries, there are significant regional benefits associated with them. For example, the central transit corridor will improve the reliability of buses serving the eastern and southern suburbs of the region. This will encourage more people to move out of their cars and into buses,” says Mr Simpson.

Auckland City will advocate to the Regional Land Transport Committee, when acting as the Regional Advisory Group, to express its views in its submission to Land Transport New Zealand.

Land Transport New Zealand will make final funding decisions in June 2005.

ENDS


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