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Prioritisation key for Manawatu-Wanganui region’s transport

7 March, 2012

Prioritisation key for region’s transport

Residents of the Manawatu-Wanganui region are being asked for their views on the long-term plans for transport in the region.

The region’s key transport projects for the next three years have been identified and prioritised in a draft plan approved for consultation today by Horizons Regional Council’s Regional Transport Committee. The Draft Regional Land Transport Programme sets out the region’s main transport issues and priority transport programmes to be put forward for funding from central government.

It includes maintenance and improvements to local roads and state highways, public transport, road safety activities and walking and cycling activities with a total proposed expenditure of $350.1 million over the next three years.

The programme will be funded by ratepayers as well as revenue collected by the New Zealand Transport Authority (NZTA) from fuel excise duty, road user charges, vehicle registration and licensing. Funds collected by NZTA are then distributed via two funds, national and regional.

A key focus for the committee has been project prioritisation with $35 million of regional funding available for a wish list of capital projects totaling $79 million. Although this leaves a large shortfall, it is the largest regional pool in the country.

Regional Transport Committee chairman Bruce Gordon says it is a challenging situation to be in with a number of worthy projects vying for the regional pool of funding.

“Our joint vision is to deliver a safe, sustainable and resilient transport system that supports economic development. We recognise the need for strong connections to the national transport corridors and we’ve prioritised the region’s projects accordingly.

“I’d encourage the public to take a look at the programme when it is released for consultation in April and let us know if you think we’ve got it right.”

Included in the list of projects is the upgrade of an alternative route to the Manawatu Gorge with a proposed budget of $4.5million. The committee has underlined the significance of this project for the region’s economic development.

NZTA has advised the committee that funding has been made available this year to begin investigating viable options.

Heavy vehicles also stand to benefit with other projects high on the list including SH1 Foxton to Shannon diversion, improvements to the Palmerston North to Wellington route and the upgrade of SH3 at Wanganui to SH1 Bulls.

The Draft Regional Land Transport Programme will be available from Horizons on April 4 with submission hearings planned for May 21 and 25. The hearing panel will comprise members from NZTA, Horizons and the local district and city councils.

ENDS

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