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Transport Package A Boost For Northern Problems

28 February 2002

Northland Green MP Sue Bradford today said the package of transport initiatives negotiated between the Greens and the Government was aimed to finally start addressing some of the transport infrastructure problems that were plaguing the northern region.

In the package, funding for roading has increased by around eight per cent while funding for passenger transport has increased over 50 per cent, alternatives to roading has increased over 200 per cent, a new output of $30 million for regional development assistance (not restricted to roading) has been created and $3 million for walking and cycling has been allocated as part of the roading budget.

Ms Bradford said the Greens had been negotiating with the Government over the makeup of the package over the last three months and said the allocations of the extra revenue would at last begin to balance the demands for roads with the need for sustained investment in public transport, passenger transport and rail freight.

"The $30 million in new funding for regional development assistance could be of great use for projects such as building the spur line to connect the new Whangarei Port to the main rail track," she said.

"The Greens are pleased with the agreement in this package to ensure that incentives work to encourage heavy freight to be moved by rail. Preventing our roads from being swamped by heavy logging trucks is crucial for the north and the commitment to rail in this package is a long-overdue step in addressing it."

Ms Bradford said she was particularly pleased with the commitment to rail.

"While the Greens acknowledge that some of this new funding will go towards building and maintaining roads the new criteria that roading projects must now meet has a much stronger commitment to environmental sustainability and there is a weighting to give preference to those projects that have popular community support," she said.

"We acknowledge that the provision and maintenance of transport is a real issue in the far north and the Greens are optimistic these measures announced today will start to put them right."

Ends


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