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LGNZ welcomes Land Transport Programme

MEDIA RELEASE

Local Government New Zealand welcomes Land Transport Programme

1 July 2004

Local Government New Zealand has welcomed the funding increase for land transport infrastructure and services, announced at last night’s unveiling of the Government’s National Land Transport Programme.

“The National Land Transport Programme provides much needed funding for some major state highway and passenger transport projects,” says Local Government New Zealand’s transport spokesperson, Mayor Grahame Hall.

“We are particularly pleased to see an overall increase in funding, specifically the 45 percent increase for the improvement and replacement of local roads and the 17 percent increase in funding for local roading maintenance.

“While the local government sector appreciates there has been significant additional funding from central government for new capital works, we are asking why more funding has not been provided to increase the Government’s share of the maintenance demands of existing local roads. These costs are falling heavily on ratepayers and there are risks associated with deferred maintenance,” says Mayor Hall.

The rising cost of funding projects is of concern to the sector as is the apparent decline in competition amongst suppliers in the transport sector which could potentially impact on prices for the completion of some of the projects outlined in the Programme.

Local Government New Zealand is also concerned about the deficit shown in Transfund’s ten year financial forecasts and questions how Transfund intends to address this issue. Based on current taxation and revenue sources, at the end of ten years Transfund will have a deficit of $500 million – up from the $213 million deficit projected in last year’s forecast.

Individual mayors and chairs of local authorities will also be reading the National Land Transport Programme with interest to see if their projects have been given priority.

ENDS

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