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Long overdue and very welcome

Long overdue and very welcome

The announcement of a significant increase in long-term funding for new roads is long overdue and very welcome, Road Transport Forum Chief Executive Officer Tony Friedlander says. “It is great to see a real commitment being made to provide urgently needed new roads. It’s a victory for the democratic process.”

Mr Friedlander says the boost in roading investment means the Government has finally recognised what the Forum and other road user groups have been saying for some time now. “Road users have become increasingly fed up with the inadequate roading network they’ve had to cope with.

“What’s even more heartening is that the other major political parties have also made strong commitments to greater investment in roading. This makes the Forum optimistic that a continued strong roading programme will be cemented in after the election.

“Giving Transit NZ the ability to borrow to fund works is also a welcome sign of a long-term commitment to getting more roads built. Until now road users have paid upfront for all the capital costs as well as maintenance. Allowing borrowing means that projects can be accelerated and future users will contribute their share towards the costs.

There is one concern for the Forum, Mr Friedlander says: the planning process. “Having the money is great, but it is not a lot of use if it can’t be spent. There is a risk that the projects this additional money will fund could get bogged down in disagreements between sections of local government and in lengthy planning appeals. We would hope the new government, whoever it is, will take firm action if progress on building New Zealand the roading network it urgently needs is unacceptably slowed.”

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