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Green light for Harbour Link, $150m for BOP trnspt

3 August 2005 Media Statement

Green light for Harbour Link plus $150m for other Bay of Plenty transport projects

Transport Minister Pete Hodgson today announced that Cabinet had given the green light to the $244 million Harbour Link project. In addition to this, the government also announced $150 million from the Crown Account to allow additional projects to go ahead.

"Central government has worked in partnership with regional and local leaders and communities to make this happen. The Region has enjoyed extraordinary population and economic growth since this government came to office. It's leaders have produced a first rate regional growth strategy and the first of the new era of regional land transport strategies. The government is delighted to be able to support bringing them to fruition," says Pete Hodgson.

By partially debt funding Harbour Link at the same time as giving the region an additional $150 million from the Crown Account, many more projects will be able to be completed including:

- The eastern corridor, bypassing Te Puke and servicing the growing urban development towards Papamoa

- Enhanced public transport, to provide a base for increased patronage in Rotorua and Tauranga

- Transport demand management for walking and cycling and also business and school travel plans, and

- Further progress on key arterial routes, enhancing local roads, providing route security in the eastern Bay of Plenty and further road safety improvements.

Cabinet's decision around Harbour Link allows for an Order in Council to be made for debt funding, to be repayed through tolls, for no more than half the value of the project. Land Transport New Zealand will pay the other half.

Cabinet has also capped the level of the tolls at $2 per car and $4 per truck in today's money, but has allowed for lower tolls according to the time of day, the direction of travel or other reasons.

"Today is the day the politicians stopped talking and the work got started."

ENDS

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