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Transport the big winner in Annual Plan

Transport the big winner in Annual Plan

The ARC’s Annual Plan, which was adopted at this evening’s Council meeting, outlines the Council’s plans and projects for 2005/06, and signals a new direction for the Council, with transport and parks the key areas of focus for the next 12 months.

Chairman Michael Lee says significantly more money has been allocated for public transport and managing the region’s rapid growth.

“The ARC Group, which includes Auckland Regional Holdings and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority, is investing more than $200 million into public transport infrastructure and services – an amount well above that of previous years.

“This extra money means residents across the region will be getting a range of new bus, train and ferry services. The North Shore alone will receive a 40 per cent increase in peak hour bus services,” Mr Lee says.

In addition to investment in transport, the Council is also ring-fencing funds for purchasing new parkland, and has set aside $2.86 million for this. Already there are 22 regional parks throughout the region, and this money will go specifically towards buying new land for all Aucklanders to enjoy.

“While the level of investment in public transport is unprecedented, the Council has worked hard at keeping the average rate increase across the region to a minimum,” Mr Lee says.

“The average residential rate increase this year is 4.8%, including inflation.

“When one considers the huge expectations from the community to improve public transport and manage growth, I believe that represents very good value for money.”

The Council has also adopted a new, fairer way to value properties, called Estimate of Projected Valuation, which is designed to smooth the fluctuations caused by the three-yearly property valuations across the region.

The business differential has been adjusted slightly, from 1.5 to 1.6.

Nearly 2000 people and organisations commented or made a formal submission on the draft plan, which was adopted in late June.

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