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Councils transport collaboration reaps Corwn funds


May 15, 2008

MEDIA STATEMENT

Canterbury councils collaboration on transport reaps Crown funds

Canterbury region received confirmation today of a $244 million* transport funding package from central government to cover the next ten years.

Environment Canterbury chairman Sir Kerry Burke said the funding was “ground-breaking” for Canterbury and great recognition for the collaborative work of the councils across the region and Transit NZ who jointly worked on the Canterbury Transport Project.

“This funding means that projects can be delivered in the next ten years, not in 20 or 25 years time when population and economic pressures would have made issues much harder to solve,” he said. “The Project will deliver a range of benefits across the region – from major roading improvements that support regional economic development and passing lanes along significant stretches of rural highways to adding cycling and walking facilities to the Old Main North Road Waimakariri River bridge.

“The main benefit of the additional investment in the next ten years for greater Christchurch is the opportunity to secure a long-term, planned approach to integrated land use and transportation central to the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy.”

The joint pre-Budget announcement was delivered by Finance Minister the Hon Michael Cullen and Transport Minister the Hon Annette King today. Sir Kerry congratulated the Government and local Members of Parliament for the funding boost in an area experiencing significant economic growth.

“The Canterbury Transport Project is a collaborative approach to transport planning involving Environment Canterbury, all Canterbury territorial councils from Waimate to Kaikoura, and Transit NZ, “ said Sir Kerry.

“The government has recognised the value of working together as a region, linking rural and urban interests to deliver region-wide benefits. The Project proactively plans roading infrastructure including new roads and arterial motorways out of the main centres, walking and cycling facilities, public transport services and priority measures and significant bridge projects.

“It looks out over 30 years to achieve the projections of the Greater Christchurch Urban Development Strategy and the Regional Land Transport Strategy. The funding arrangements announced today provide for projects in the first ten year period of this 30-year vision for Canterbury. These are the most important ones for the region to deliver in the short-to-medium term.

“We are aiming to enhance our region’s transport system through timely investment to avoid the kinds of problems Auckland is facing,” Sir Kerry said. “It is also significant that Canterbury is one of the first regions to approach long-term transport planning in a collaborative style with every district bringing their regionally-significant projects to the table and working through a rigorous process to prioritise these.”

Sir Kerry said the $244 million of Crown funding represented approximately half of what was needed in the coming ten years. The remainder would comprise $66 million from the region’s councils long term council community plans in coming years, with the remainder also raised regionally. “This may in part or whole be by way of a regional fuel tax. While detailed analysis is still required, vehicle data indicates around $178 million of the regional fuel tax could come from motorists in Canterbury, approximately two thirds from Christchurch City motorists and a third from other districts. This would be phased in once details of that funding mechanism are made clear.”

What will the Canterbury Transport Project do?

• Deliver southern and northern access packages to the Greater Christchurch area – through funding for the Southern Motorway and northern Christchurch roading schemes.
• Allow Environment Canterbury to deliver further frequency and route enhancements to the bus services across Greater Christchurch.
• Deliver further components of bus priority infrastructure to Christchurch.
• Allow rural parts of Canterbury to pursue much needed roading schemes that have been held up due to lack of funding – eg replacement of the Waitaki Bridges on SH82 and a design and investigation phase of the second bridge in Ashburton.
• Allow delivery of numerous cycling and walking initiatives around the region.
• Allow continued State Highway safety improvements through a continuation of the passing lane development programme that Transit NZ is currently undertaking.
• See the development of park and ride initiatives to the north and south of Christchurch.

Key drivers of the Canterbury Transport Project:

Delivering on the New Zealand Transport Strategy objectives namely assisting economic development, safety and personal security, improving access and mobility, protecting and promoting public health and ensuring environmental sustainability.

Locally this includes:
• Economic growth of around five per cent annually in Canterbury in recent years compared to 3.5 per cent nationally.

• Region-wide pressures include the growth in dairying and farm intensification, subdivision pressures around Greater Christchurch which are being addressed by the Urban Development Strategy and increased freight movements around the ports, rail network and Christchurch International Airport.

• Greater Christchurch, including neighbouring districts north to the Ashley River/Rakahuri and south to the Selwyn River, is currently home to around 400,000 people. By 2026, this is anticipated to grow to around 500,000, or 5000 people and 2000 new homes per year.

• With fuel prices rising, the increasing need to provide people with a choice of transport options and encourage more flexibility with the way people use their cars – for example with park and ride provisions so people can drive to dedicated park and ride facility and then use public transport to get to and from work.

The Canterbury Regional Land Transport Committee** agreed last year that ECan would approach government for a transport funding assistance package, aiming to deliver the full 10-year programme as outlined in the strategy and in the Canterbury Transport Regional Implementation Plan 2007.


*NB dollars quoted take into account inflation over ten years.

**Canterbury Regional Land Transport Committee (RLTC) is a statutory committee convened by Environment Canterbury with representation from stakeholders throughout the region and responsible for making recommendations on the Regional Land Transport Strategy and to promote and monitor progress in implementing the strategy in the region.


ENDS


District_by_district_transport_projects_May_15_08.doc

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