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Highway Improvements Stuck in Slow Lane

State Highway Improvements Stuck in Slow Lane Despite Fuel Tax Increases

“Motorists looking at Transit New Zealand’s 10 year state highway forecast could be excused for wondering what’s happened to the extra 10 cents fuel tax they were promised would fix the roads, says Stephen Selwood, NZCID Chief Executive.

“A comparison of this years plan with the 2004 plan shows that many of the high profile state highway projects won’t be completed any sooner, despite the increased fuel tax, and almost all of the critical congestion and safety projects across the regions are still years from completion (refer attached table).

“Auckland motorists will be queuing for 8-9 years on the southern and south western motorways before the key motorway linkages at Avondale and Victoria Park are completed.

“Wellingtonians will get “early planting” for Transmission Gully by 2008 but a new road isn’t on the 10 year horizon. Of particular concern is that the median barrier for the killer Centennial Highway won’t be in place until 2010.

“The SH2 Mangatawhiri black spot has been delayed a year to 2008 and the Maramarua deviation won’t be fixed until 2015.

“Glaring omissions from the 10 year state highway forecast are Auckland’s eastern corridor, the additional Auckland harbour crossing, completion of the Waikato and Maramarua expressways, completion of the Tauranga strategic roading network, Wellington’s Kapiti Coast upgrade, Manawatu Gorge alternative route and Nelson’s Southern Link. Government has promised more funds for these areas but it’s hard to see the dates on these projects advancing significantly.

“Despite Transit’s best efforts, this plan falls short of meeting the need. Government needs to commit to a 20 year state highway development strategy, work with the private sector to help finance it, and streamline the RMA and political decision making processes to enable the construction industry to get on with the job.” Mr Selwood said.

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