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Government Hampering Progress On Toll Roads

10 April 2002

Plans to build toll roads in Auckland will go nowhere until central government passes legislation to allow them - and Labour's dragging its heels, says National's transport spokesperson, Belinda Vernon.

"The Mayors of Auckland and Manakau have plans to build toll roads, with the cooperation of Transit New Zealand. But the Government's failure to introduce promised tolling legislation will stymie any plans to complete the missing links in Auckland's motorway network.

"The Government has promised 'empowering' legislation but it's failed to deliver. All the signs are that it won't - or that the 'empowering' will be so hamstrung with conditions that it will be disempowering.

"We just need to look at the Government's handling of the Weiti toll road legislation to see how wavering it's commitment is to allowing Councils to proceed with tolling arrangements.

"Rodney Council wants to build a toll road connecting the Whangaparaoa Peninsular to East Coast Road, Redvale. The necessary legislation has been introduced and is poised to be passed. But the Government wants to defer the Bill so it can be considered alongside its so-called 'empowering' legislation.

"But that legislation has not even been drafted - and all the indications are that it will be restrictive rather than enabling.

"It's been reported that the public sector will be required to oversee all projects and that tolling periods will be arbitrarily restricted. That will ensure that the full benefits of private sector involvement will be lost. It will mean that motorists will have to pay more not less.

"The Government should show how committed it is to making progress on roading infrastructure and support the passing of the Weiti Penlink Road," said Ms Vernon.

Ends

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