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Borrowing to fund roads proposal excellent

Media statement Wednesday, June 18th 2003

Borrowing to fund roads proposal excellent

The Board of the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern) yesterday hailed Government's excellent proposal to borrow to build roads.

"Making tough decisions is becoming a hallmark of this Government," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA's chief executive.

"Government is showing it is prepared to act on issues like transport when others in the past dithered.

"When the leader of NZ First, for example, would not support a similar proposal by the previous National government, interest in sorting out roads disappeared.

"Government's ability to make economically robust transport decisions is nonetheless being crimped by the Greens.

"For example, it is ludicrous for Jeannette Fitzsimmons to claim that completing Auckland's long delayed roading network will make congestion worse.

"Her argument is out of touch with commercial reality. It's like saying Pak n Save should not build anymore supermarkets because customers will only go shopping more often.

"The funding shortfall of at least $2.5 billion for Auckland's transport needs alone over the next decade, including passenger transport, could be leveraged off Transfund's existing budget of about $380 million per annum.

"It is entirely appropriate for Government to borrow to complete long overdue roading infrastructure.

"Government will also need to raise petrol taxes and road user charges nationally, and ensure all this additional revenue goes into roading and public transport in the regions from whence the funding derived.

"Private sector participation in constructing new roads is needed as well, hence toll roads are required along with congestion or peak time pricing on key routes."


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