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Chamber Welcomes Govt Transport Funding Pledge

5 July 2005

Chamber Welcomes Government Transport Funding Pledge – More Work Needed Before Region Can Decide Best Western Corridor Op
tion

The Wellington Regional Chamber of Commerce today welcomed the Government’s announcement of increased funding for Wellington’s transport infrastructure, but cautioned that the level of funding should not determine the outcome of the region’s deliberations on which option is the best solution to the congestion problems on the Western Corridor.

“While we were clearly hoping for a little more, we very much welcome today’s announcement. It is a big leap forward on past funding levels. The Government should be commended for committing this extra funding, and for making it possible for the region to make major advances towards solving its transportation bottlenecks,” said Charles Finny, Chief Executive Officer.

“Although today’s funding announcement would not be sufficient to fund in full a four lane Transmission Gully motorway as it is currently costed, a range of questions about these costings are currently under review by the Regional Land Transport Committee.

These questions include the possibility of a less ambitious Transmission Gully, and about funding options for the gap between today’s Government funding announcement and the cost of the four lane Transmission Gully option,” Charles Finny said. “We therefore welcome repeated assurances from Government Ministers – as recently as that today from the region’s Labour MPs - that the choice of the Western Corridor option is the Region’s to make.”

The Chamber noted that work done recently by Porirua City Council suggested that a scaled down Transmission Gully project could be built at the same cost as the current design for the Coastal highway expansion, at the same time as delivering extra benefits. The Porirua work has now been picked up and is being analysed as part of the Regional Land Transport Committee process.

“The Chamber continues to have an open mind about which option for the Western Corridor is best, and we want to keep working to help forge a regional consensus on the best way to proceed.

We are not opposed to the Coastal highway extension option, but we have major concerns about the risks that are associated with this proposal – particularly the scope for it to be delayed in the designation and consent processes. These risks are much lower for Transmission Gully which has already been designated.

If we are to proceed to endorse the Coastal option, we shall need confirmation from Government that its powers under the new Resource Management Act will be used to streamline the designation/consent processes,” Charles Finny said. “We are also attracted to the extra security afforded by an extra entrance and exit route being added to Wellington should Transmission Gully be built.”

ENDS

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