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Funding gap must be solved, says Mayor

Funding gap must be solved, says Mayor


The Mayor of Auckland city, Dick Hubbard, is pleased with central government's commitment to ensure critical road projects progress following the release of Transit New Zealand's draft 10-year forecast yesterday.

"It's blatantly obvious that there is a funding shortfall for vital transport projects benefiting Auckland, and the rest of the country," says Mr Hubbard.

"I am comforted by the acting Minister of Finance and Transport, Trevor Mallard's statement that 'no options have been ruled out' to fund the gap between Transit's draft plan and what is needed to build a comprehensive regional and national transport network.

"Transit's draft plan paints a very clear picture of the funding gap that needs to be bridged. The shortfalls are significant, and not easily overcome.

"We need to get real and give considerable thought to all the funding options available.

"With declining income from petrol tax, it would be irresponsible not to consider all the options available to fund transport projects, including tolls, borrowing, and changing how the petrol tax is allocated.

"While I'm pleased with central government's commitment to ensure Transit's plans are realised, we need to consider all options so we aren't forever reliant on one source of funding.

"We need to consider sustainable funding sources that can fund the infrastructure required as well as achieving changes in travel behaviour.

"I am keen to advance and secure future funding sources to ensure the momentum in building transport infrastructure continues. We cannot afford a 'wait and see' approach if we are to grow the economic viability of Auckland and the nation.

"We also have to ensure that additional funding from central government into roading, does not divert the overdue investment in public transport, particularly rail. Investment for Auckland's rail including double tracking and electrification is just as critical," says Mr Hubbard.

Auckland City will make a formal submission to Transit New Zealand's draft 2006/2007 10-year State Highway Forecast during the consultation period that closes Friday, 24 March 2006.

Ends

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