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Better Roads For Waikato Under National

National's approach to roading will greatly speed up priority roading projects like four-laning the Cambridge to Auckland highway, Prime Minister Jenny Shipley said in Hamilton today.

"The motorway to Auckland is important, not just to support economic growth in the region, but to make it safer to help reduce the road toll on this stretch of road."

Waikato and Auckland motorists also stand to benefit from a recent announcement by Transfund New Zealand that it could have up to $100 million more to spend on new roading and passenger transport over the next three years.

This is welcome news for roads in areas like Waikato and Auckland where growing populations are putting pressure on main roads, says Mrs Shipley.

"Under the current arrangements for road funding, demand has to build up before priority projects can get funds.

"For rapidly growing regions like Auckland and the Waikato this means that road users have to wait until problems get so bad that the demand is high enough to draw attention. Roading always lags behind demand and projects get dealt with in a piecemeal way. This isn't good enough for motorists."

"Under the Government’s proposal, set out in Better Transport, Better Roads roading providers will be able to borrow and anticipate demand, not lag behind."

"There is no doubt in my mind that Transit NZ who manages our State highways, will use this ability to borrow to give much higher priority to this essential link. However there will still be the inevitable time taken to get appropriate consents, acquire land and get construction under way.

"National is determined to finalise consultations with interested parties and introducing these new arrangements within a year of the coming election.

"Labour on the other hand does not support such a realistic approach. Their policies for roading will mean Hamiltonians will wait much longer for an upgrade to their link to Auckland," said Mrs Shipley.

ENDS

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