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Road Funding Cuts Stifle Auckland

Cuts in funding for Auckland roading show the Government doesn't understand the importance of a strategic road network in the region, says National's transport spokesperson Belinda Vernon.

Ms Vernon says the Government's road funding priorities have been highlighted by a recent Auckland Business Forum study, which has revealed a $50 million reduction for the region from the National Roading Fund over the past three years - despite it receiving an increase in funding during this period.

"The Government has talked a lot about fixing Auckland's transport problems. But instead of putting its money where its mouth is, it has tightened the purse strings on the part that matters most - the region's state highway network.

"The Government has hung its hat on a rail solution and forgets that joining up the motorway is a basic, first step in reducing Auckland's gridlock.

Ms Vernon says Transport Minister Mark Gosche's claims of extra money for public transport and a rail corridor, highlight the fact that he sees this as a trade-off for the huge cut in road funding.

"The delays on the ALPURT extension highlight the flaws in the RMA process for major roading projects. Instead of doing something about it the Government is sitting back and accepting it.

"With Auckland's traffic congestion problems costing about a billion dollars a year, each year's delay continues to hold back New Zealand's economy. Waiting for projects to come one stream is not the answer.

"The gridlock which plagues Auckland transport seems to have hit the Government decision making as well," Ms Vernon concluded.

Ends

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