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Transport increase barely covers exiting projects

Budget 2005: Transport increase barely covers escalation for existing projects

National’s Transport spokesman, Maurice Williamson, says the extra $300 million over three years that the Government has put into roading is a start but goes nowhere near far enough.

“This increase will barely cover the cost of the price escalations that have been experienced in recent years – escalations caused by delay after delay.

“Major new roads like Auckland’s Western Ring route, the Maramarua Expressway, the Tauranga Strategic Roading Network, the Waikato Expressway, Wellington’s Transmission Gully, and an additional Auckland Harbour crossing still remain well outside the funding levels available.

“We will not see them completed within 10 years, even with this extra money.

“Some of us will have died of old age before these vital projects are completed.

“Labour should learn from Labour governments in Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland and just get on with these projects.

“Sydney’s $2 billion M7 Westlink project and Melbourne’s $4 billion Connect East project are being delivered through public-private partnerships within five years from start to finish. We should be doing the same thing here.

“With government surpluses running at about $7 billion, Labour should have taken a lead from National’s already announced policy and, over time, moved all the petrol tax that goes to the consolidated fund to the road account.

“Even then it will be hard to fund all the economically viable projects that have been identified,” Mr Williamson says.


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