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Auckland Business Forum submission to Transit Plan

Given that fixing Auckland’s and other region’s roading infrastructure is critical to Government achieving its economic transformation goals, why aren’t Transit New Zealand Board members hearing submissions?

At today’s hearings on Transit’s 10-year plan for completing the region’s core network, Michael Barnett, chairman of the Auckland Business Forum, noted that the key projects were all ranked as “urgently needed” by Transit and when completed will add many millions of dollars of new growth to the region’s economy. “Why aren’t the Board members listening to the presentations?”

“There is no more important organisation to the future growth and prosperity of Auckland than Transit New Zealand through the job it has to put in place a modern, integrated motorway network that gives good options for moving people and goods around the region.”

The Auckland Business Form submission calls for the proposed 10-year Forecast to be replaced by:

· A 5-year fixed funded programme (within a 10-year planning framework) with review every 2 years for adding “ready to build” projects – i.e. nothing drops off – aimed at maintaining the 2005 Transit outcome of completing the core network by 2015, or earlier.

· Use of available funding to target the “urgent and serious” and “ready to build” projects, and addressing any funding gap – which the Submission questioned - by debt funding.

“It is illogical that available funding is NOT being used to finish the urgent Auckland and other regional projects in the Waikato, Taupo and elsewhere,” said Mr Barnett.

The Forum submission also recommends Transit accelerate the SH20 Manukau Harbour Crossing project to ensure completion before the Rugby World Cup in 2011.

“An accelerated programme is possible and highly desirable to avoid bedlam congestion in Auckland from 2009 when both the Mt Roskill and Manukau Extension sections (at each end of the Mangere Bridge section) will be completed and in use. The ‘bit in the middle’ needs to come on stream as the rest of the corridor!!”

Mr Barnett stressed that a 5-year fixed and funded programme would give the construction industry the badly needed certainty that a steady programme of work is available.

“Transit has a list of “urgently needed” projects. It’s programme should treat them that way by funding their completion in the fastest possible time.”

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