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Transport Bill Key tool to unlock Auck’s growth

· Transport Management Bill:

· “Key tool to unlock Auckland’s growth potential”

· To be an effective tool for solving Auckland’s traffic gridlock, the Transport Management Bill must provide options to fund the completion of the region’s long-planned transport network with minimal delay.

· Michael Barnett, Chairman of the Auckland Business Forum, said all Aucklanders with passion for the region’s future will strongly welcome the legislation.

· “The level of congestion in Auckland is clearly getting worse by the month, while action on key parts of the plans to give Auckland a comprehensive and modern roading network with improved public transport options remain unconfirmed through lack of funding certainty.”

· To complete the “must build” roads and public transport infrastructure improvements tagged for construction in the next 7-to-10 years, the region will need to invest more than $4 billion.

· While the Auckland Business Forum strongly welcome the provision in the Bill for public/private partnerships (PPPs) to help source the funding required, for the legislation to be effective there is clearly going to need to be changes to ensure as wide a range of delivery options as possible are made available.

· Early look at the Bill’s detail suggests that there is still a reluctance within Government to fully embrace the potential of private sector resources to help solve Auckland’s (and New Zealand’s) transport infrastructure shortfall. For example, the Bill falls short in not providing for the BOOT (Build, Own. Operate, Transfer) options used successfully in Australian cities to complete urban motorways that meet top environmental and community expectations.

· Restrictions requiring majority public ownership is unfortunate, given that it is the private sector that generates the wealth needed to grow a better performing economy, said Mr Barnett. “It would be unfortunate for both Government and the private sector if the level of restriction in the invitation to the private sector to participate ends up reducing the Bill’s potential effectiveness,” he said.

· At the same time, the provisions that allow Transfund to undertake debt funding is a step forward to unlocking more resources said Mr Barnett.

· On balance, the Bill is a step forward for unlocking faster action to solve Auckland’s transport gridlock, but the Business Forum submission will be arguing for a greater commitment to allow the private sector to contribute to solving the region’s urgent transport needs.

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