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Joint approach to land transport infrastructure

Joint approach to land transport infrastructure

Thursday 21 April 2005

Environment Bay of Plenty has welcomed the chance to work more closely with the Government on the development of the region’s land transport infrastructure.

Regional council chairman John Cronin and Minister of Transport Pete Hodgson today announced the formation of a joint working group to examine funding options for roading and other infrastructure.

Mr Cronin welcomes the partnership approach on such an important issue for the Bay of Plenty’s future. He says it recognises Environment Bay of Plenty’s role in completing New Zealand’s first Regional Land Transport Strategy. It is also a response to the pressing transport needs of the region, particularly in the western Bay of Plenty. “It is very encouraging that the region has been recognised in this way.”

An extra $500 million will need to be found over the next decade to implement transport projects that are “absolutely critical” to the Bay of Plenty’s future, Mr Cronin says. “This joint working group will help us to address these issues. It is absolutely necessary to get our transport infrastructure sorted. Otherwise the region’s roads will just get more and more clogged up, which has a huge impact in social, environmental and economic ways.”

It also builds on the SmartGrowth initiative and the combined work with Tauranga City Council and mayor Stuart Crosby and Western Bay of Plenty District Council and mayor Graeme Weld. “It underpins the cooperative spirit that exists in all of our councils to progress our region.”

Environment Bay of Plenty’s regional land transport strategy was adopted late last year. It identifies what transport projects are needed in the region and estimates how much they will cost over the next 10 years. It is a key guiding document for regional, city and district councils, Land Transport New Zealand, Transit NZ and other groups involved in its development.

The strategy encompasses all forms of land transport, including roading, rail, public transport, cycling and walking. It focuses not just on roads but on transport ‘corridors’ where the need for roads is weighed alongside alternatives such as rail and public transport.

ENDS

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