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Bay Roads Boost

Bay Roads Boost
For immediate release: Tuesday 5 February 2008

Bay of Plenty roading projects took a step nearer to reality today (Tuesday 5 February), following a meeting of the Regional Land Transport Committee.

Projects that could benefit include the Tauranga Eastern Motorway, Rotorua’s Victoria Street Arterial and Rotorua Eastern Arterial.

The Tauranga Eastern Motorway would provide a much improved transport link between Whakatane, Rotorua, the central forestry plateau and the Port of Tauranga. It is also critical to serve the growth predicted in Papamoa East, the proposed business park at Rangiuru and to take state highway traffic away from Te Puke.

The Bay of Plenty needs major improvements to its existing roads and new roads to serve it growing population of residents and businesses. However, there is not enough money to pay for them.

The committee therefore approved a proposed funding package to cover the funding short fall of around $305million.

A funding plan had to be agreed by the committee so that Transit could submit an application to secure funds for the design of the Tauranga Eastern Motorway.

The proposed funding package includes a regional fuel tax and tolls.

The introduction of a regional fuel tax is subject to Government approval. Currently the region cannot legally impose a fuel tax. However, Parliament is considering the Land Transport Management Act Amendment Bill 2007, which includes regional fuel taxes. This is a strong signal from central Government that regional councils should consider regional fuel taxes.

Committee chairman Andrew von Dadelszen stressed that a regional fuel tax is not a foregone conclusion.

“Even if Parliament gives the regions the power to introduce a regional fuel tax, the tax and tolls would still be subject to wide public consultation here in the Bay of Plenty,” said Regional Land Transport committee chairman Andrew von Dadelszen.


Ends

For further media information please contact Andrew von Dadelszen, chairman of the regional council’s transport committee, on 0800 ENV BOP (368 267) or Fiona Robinson, Senior Communications Advisor, on 0800 ENV BOP (368 267) ext 8380 or (021) 289 8380.


NB:

The Land Transport Management Act Amendment Bill 2007 is before Parliament. The Bill does not allow for a regional fuel tax to be imposed to cover local costs, only regional fuel taxes.

The Regional Land Transport Committee is made up of representatives from all the district and city councils, road safety agencies, Environment Bay of Plenty, Transit, Land Transport New Zealand, as well as representatives covering the following interest groups: cultural interests, safety and personal security, economic development, public health, environmental sustainability and access and mobility.

Tauranga Eastern Motorway is part of the Smart Growth strategy, a 50-year plan to manage future growth in the Western Bay of Plenty.


ENDS

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