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Labour must act on roads report

Labour must act on roads report

The Allen Consulting Group’s report on roads is a wake-up call for action and a blueprint for the path ahead, says National’s Transport spokesman, Maurice Williamson.

“The time for talk is over. This report supports the view that huge benefits will be gained by pushing on urgently with key roading projects, and it is clear the Government must move now.”

The report also shows there is room for a blend of private and public investment in roading.

“If we can sort out our roading infrastructure, we will boost economic growth, reduce congestion, be friendly to the environment and, in the long-term, reduce the tax paid by motorists,” Mr Williamson says. “Unlike most other areas of policy, the Government could have a win-win-win by listening to these findings.

“This report shows we can no longer afford to evaluate and fund our roading projects on a piecemeal, bit-by-bit basis. The current system makes it impossible to evaluate the extensive flow-on benefits to the wider economy.

“A ‘whole of project’ approach to funding, as advocated by the report, makes it possible to identify the full benefits of the investments,” Mr Williamson says.

“The four major projects studied by Allen Consulting will all eventually be built under the current “pay as you go” scheme, but this report shows what massive gains could be made by front-end loading the funding through infrastructure bonds and completing these projects early, by 2012.

“National believes the report’s recommendations are well overdue for implementation. We identified the need to reform the way our roads are funded back in the late nineties,” Mr Williamson says.

National is committed to completing Auckland’s roading network and other large projects around the country.

As well, the RMA and the LTMA desperately need amending to be more conducive to building infrastructure more rapidly.

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