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LGNZ Welcomes Extra Transport Funding

Local Government New Zealand welcomes extra funding in National Land Transport Programme

For immediate release on 29 June 2006

Local Government New Zealand’s transport spokesperson Mayor Graeme Weld is welcoming the increased funding that has been allocated to roading projects in the National Land Transport Programme, announced yesterday.

Mr Weld says the Government has recognised the increase in road maintenance and construction costs for councils and allocated additional funding accordingly. He was also pleased that both Land Transport New Zealand and the Minister of Transport, Hon. Annette King, recognised the significant role of local government in the provision of land transport services.

“We are, however, disappointed that another opportunity to announce the outcome of the review of the Funding Assistance Rates for council roads and transport services has been missed.

“The local government sector has been waiting on the results of this review for some time. The announcement is especially important for those rural councils with low rating bases that may be struggling financially,” said Mr Weld

Local Government New Zealand says unlike the certainty provided for Transit NZ to deliver a programme of works related to the State Highway network, the Land Transport Programme as it relates to local authority roads and services only guarantees an increase in the amount of funding for the next 5 years. If costs continue to escalate faster than anticipated increases in revenue then the proposed local authority programme will have to be curtailed.

Mr Weld said that the Programme also provides some certainly for councils’ funding of emergency works.

“Funding for emergency works has received a $77 million boost from $30 million last year to $107 million. We are pleased that the Government has recognised the increased costs for councils as they plan for, and deal with, the impacts of more frequent and severe adverse weather events such as flooding, possibly linked to climate change.”

The Government has also acknowledged the increasing importance of passenger transport networks and it is pleasing to see $301 million has been allocated to regional councils, Transit, and some territorial authorities. $141 million of this funding will go towards maintaining and expanding these crucial community services.

“It is also pleasing to see the increased allocation of $9 million towards total demand management, walking and cycling even though the criteria around how local councils will be able to access these funds are yet to be announced,” said Mr Weld.

Local Government New Zealand also looks forward to the speedy implementation of the projects identified in the Transit NZ Programme over the next 10 years.

ENDS


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