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Road project delays last thing NZ needs

Hon Maurice Williamson MP
National Party Transport Spokesman
22 February 2006

Road project delays last thing NZ needs

Transit’s announcement today of a $685 million funding gap and consequent deferral of projects across the country is the last thing New Zealand needs, says National Transport spokesman Maurice Williamson.

The gap is being blamed on rising construction costs and a revision down in the expected take from fuel taxes thanks to higher prices that are reducing demand.

“We have been suffering from an infrastructure deficit for some years and what was needed was an injection of funding, as well as the introduction of the private sector,” says Mr Williamson.

“Instead what we’ve got is a ghastly announcement that we are going to have projects further deferred.

“New Zealanders are fed up with congestion and delays, and this announcement signals that things are only going to get worse – not better, as Labour likes to tell everyone.

“As Transit’s overview notes, the draft forecast now incorporates changed priorities for some key projects, and changes to the scope, timing and cost of large capital projects.

“It further notes that part of the reason for this is that in November the Government cut Transit’s funding for state highways in 2005-06 by $35 million, from $1022 million to $987 million.

“So much for Labour’s commitment to roading. Now, Trevor Mallard has come out and reportedly said the Government is not happy with the draft and will be working to close the funding gap as part of the Budget process

“These comments show the Government has no faith in Transit, whose board members include Labour Party president Mike Williams.”

Projects being delayed include:


- SH16 Waterview to Rosebank 8-laning, from 2008-09 to 2012-13.

- The $66 million Maramarua deviation, from 2011-12 to 2013-14.

- The SH18 Hobsonville Deviation, from 2005-06 to 2008-09. The estimated cost has gone from $173.7 million to nearly $200 million.

- SH2 Dowse to Petone interchange, from 2005-06 to 2007-08.

- Christchurch Southern Motorway extension, from 2009-10 to 2012-13.

- Travel demand management projects on the Northern and Northwestern Motorways in Auckland, and in Tauranga and Christchurch.

- Design of SH20 at Avondale and SH1 at Ngaruawahia.


Mr Williamson points out that the $140 million Newmarket Viaduct project has also slipped from a start date of 2008-09 to 2009-10.

“That means it will be halfway through when the Rugby World Cup is on. That’ll be a terrible look for international visitors.”

Mr Williamson notes Transit has also had to cut spending by $32 million across small-medium sized capital projects, minor safety projects, property and maintenance.

ENDS

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