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Funding gap for Wellington transport

Funding gap for Wellington transport

The extra money theoretically allocated to Wellington on December 12 closes the funding gap for a basic transport programme but still falls well short of addressing much needed improvements for the region, says Regional Land Transport Committee chair Terry McDavitt.

The Regional Land Transport Committee heard on Friday that the funding gap between the level of investment needed and the sources of funding over the next ten years was as much as $250 million. Thanks to the Government’s Christmas present this gap may have reduced to $100 million. “The Regional Land Transport Strategy sets out an agreed package of transport investment. Over the next ten years the region needs improved bus and rail services, to make better provision for walking and cycling and to upgrade roads to address worsening congestion,” says Cr McDavitt.

The bigger roading projects are Kapiti’s Western Link Road, Wellington’s Inner City Bypass, Hutt’s Dowse to Petone upgrade, extra traffic lanes between Petone and Aotea Quay, and a new road linking Petone to Grenada. Investment of $850 million is needed for these improvements. The programme does not include construction of Transmission Gully.

“Taking account of money made available in Friday’s announcement there’s likely to be funding sources for $750 million, leaving a gap of $100 million,” says Cr McDavitt. While this gap is significant, it is much smaller than Aucklands’ and therefore more manageable. There are various solutions to bridging the long term funding gap such as fuel taxes, tolls for specific projects or road pricing. These will be discussed by the Regional Land Transport Committee as it goes about reviewing the Regional Land Transport Strategy.

“So Wellingtonians have a choice – stick with a very basic programme (fundable but flawed) or add improvements and agree to pay more,” says Cr McDavitt.

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