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Land Transport NZ’s focus for Waikato

30 June 2005

Safe and efficient roads Land Transport NZ’s focus for Waikato

Safe and efficient roads to withstand high traffic growth are the focus for the Waikato in the 2005/06 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP).

Land Transport NZ today announced $1.7 billion in transport spending for New Zealand in 2005/06, including nearly $142 million allocated for investment in Waikato’s land transport network.

This includes:

$94 million for maintenance of state highways and local roads

$44 million for construction of state highways and local roads

$3 million for the development and improvements to passenger transport services in Hamilton.

Land Transport NZ chair Dr Jan Wright says the agency and its partners are committed to making Waikato’s major routes safer and more efficient, and making passenger transport more attractive as an alternative to using the car.

Funding has been committed for the continuation of major projects, including: the four-lane Waikato expressway from Mercer to Long Swamp on State Highway 1; installation of the wire rope barrier through the Rangiriri village and further south to link with the four-laning to the south of Ohinewai; and the realignment of curves and construction of passing lanes on State Highway 5 at Tapapa Curves near Tirau.

Projects which may be funded during the year include the design of the Taupo eastern route which will connect State Highway 1 (near Taupo Airport) to the state highway intersection at Wairakei to reduce congestion around the lakefront; construction of Mangatawhiri deviation on State Highway 2 to realign a section of highway to improve safety; and construction of Avalon Drive bypass on State Highway 1 in Hamilton to reduce congestion. The investigation, design and commencement of construction is also planned for stage 3 of the arterial road at Wairere Drive in Hamilton which will connect Hukanui and Tramway Roads.

Funding will also continue for the transportation of quarry products from Kopu in Thames to Auckland, eliminating the use of trucks.

This year’s NLTP is the first to include regionally distributed funding raised from the 5c per litre increase in petrol excise and the associated increase in Road User Charges for light vehicles introduced on April 1 this year. The distribution of regional funding has been determined on the basis of population.

Dr Wright stressed that regionally distributed funding will be allocated over a 10 year period, with all regions receiving their full allocation over the 10 years.

“While this extra funding will be allocated and approved through the usual NLTP processes, Land Transport NZ is seeking increased regional involvement in setting priorities for this funding. Allocation of this funding has begun slowly because some regions need time to set their priorities, and the more expensive construction phase of projects will occur later in the 10 year period.”

This year’s NLTP is the first to be prepared by Land Transport NZ, created by the merger of Transfund New Zealand and the Land Transport Safety Authority in December 2004. Dr Wright says the activities funded through the NLTP reflect Land Transport NZ’s objective of contributing to an integrated, safe, responsive and sustainable land transport system.

“New Zealand faces huge transport challenges. The $1.7 billion allocated by this year’s NLTP, together with the extra transport funding of $100 million per year for three years from 2006/07 announced in this year’s Budget and the further $500 million announced last week, will help us meet those challenges.”

Dr Wright said an announcement would be made in August detailing how the extra $500 million in transport funding will be allocated.

Regional newsletters, a fact sheet and the NLTP book, which details all projects in the 2005/06 NLTP, will be available at www.landtransport.govt.nz from 6pm today.

ENDS


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