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Bay of Plenty transport funding project announced

21 April 2005

Bay of Plenty transport funding project announced

Central and local government to work together on transport funding options

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Minister of Transport Pete Hodgson and Chair of Environment Bay of Plenty John Cronin today announced the formation of a working group to examine funding options for the continued development of the region's land transport infrastructure.

"The Bay of Plenty has grown rapidly in recent years as the country has enjoyed a sustained period of economic growth. It's important that its transport infrastructure can keep pace with that growth. That's why government is partnering with the region to explore funding options," says Pete Hodgson.

The project group will comprise representatives of Bay of Plenty local government, the Ministry of Transport, Treasury, and Land Transport New Zealand.

The group will take a strategic view of region's transport needs. However, as with the Regional Land Transport Strategy, there will be a focus on Tauranga due to recent rapid population increases and the city's importance to the national economy. The Group will work to identify strategic transport priorities and funding options for the next ten years. However, decisions on which projects to put forward for funding remain with local authorities and Transit, while funding decisions for each project are taken by Land Transport New Zealand.

"Our goal is to improve safety and access and to promote economic growth. Similar projects in other cities have identified priorities encompassing strategic roading, enhanced passenger transport and transport demand management. I anticipate this group will have similar outcomes."

The government owned rail network management company, Ontrack, will continue to work on rail freight issues outside this process.

"Local government in the region has done a very good job of completing its review of the Regional Land Transport Strategy which is closely linked to the region's SmartGrowth strategy. I congratulate the region on its proactivity in thinking forward. Because so much progress has been made, I am confident the group will be able to complete its report quickly, probably in the order of three months or so."

ENDS

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