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Govt urges mayors to work together


Govt urges mayors to work together

Transport Minister Paul Swain and Tauranga-based MP Margaret Wilson encouraged Transit New Zealand, the Tauranga District Council and the Western Bay of Plenty District Council to continue to work together to address the region's transport needs.

"As the fastest-growing city in New Zealand with a busy port and thriving local economy, Tauranga faces rapidly increasing traffic volumes," said Mr Swain on a visit to Tauranga today.

Mr Swain and Ms Wilson encouraged Bay of Plenty local authorities to give "full and frank" input into Transit New Zealand's annual and 10-year state highway programmes.

"Both are still only at the draft stage which means there is further opportunity for local authorities to make clear their regional roading priorities," said Ms Wilson.

"There are a number of major projects already underway in the Tauranga area," she said.

- Work on the $91 million Project PJK (jointly funded by Transit and the Tauranga District Council), started in October 1999 and will be completed in June 2003 inside the allocated budget.

- Safety improvements on SH2 between Te Maunga and Mangatapu are currently under construction.

- Transit is currently designing the $23 million Hewlett's / Maunganui road Intersection project.

- The Hewlett's Road Maunganui Traffic Study and the Tauranga Eastern Arterial are currently under investigation.

"Under Transit's 10-year draft state highways programme $274 million has been earmarked for the Bay of Plenty area, " said Mr Swain. "This represents 5% of available funding and gives the Bay of Plenty the fourth largest slice of the pie after Auckland, Wellington and Waikato.

"The recent release of this programme generated a lot of discussion around New Zealand, as it illustrated that demand for roading projects will always outstrip funding.

"This is why the government is looking at alternative ways to funding transport projects, such as Public Private Partnerships and tolls, which will become possible when the Land Transport Management Bill is passed later this year.

"There may be projects in the Tauranga area which will be suitable for PPP projects. However PPP projects are dependent on high traffic volumes and given New Zealand's low population we are unlikely to see more than a handful across the country," said Mr Swain.


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