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Tauranga Subdivision Needs $400m Roads. Who Will Pay For It?

Tauranga's council could face a “substantive funding gap” for new roads aimed at unlocking much needed housing in the city's east.

The roads are key routes for Te Tumu, at the eastern end of Pāpāmoa, which is set to house 15,500 people when completed.

An aerial of Te Tumu that is set to be developed into housing. Photo: SmartGrowth.

The greenfield development needs two transport corridors, at an estimated cost of $400m, which would extend The Boulevard and Te Okuroa Drive in Pāpāmoa.

If the funding can't be found, it could potentially add an additional $27,000 to the cost of each new house.

Speaking at a recent Tauranga City Council meeting, city planning and growth manager Andy Mead said the council started work on the business case for the roads four years ago.

In that time the way NZ Transport Agency Waka Kotahi funded arterial roads in greenfield sites had changed, he said.

Previously NZTA funded half the cost but their funding availability and policy had changed “substantively”, particularly in greenfield areas, said Mead.

“To the point where more or less they don't really sort of fund these roads anymore or if they do, they only fund a small portion … of a service.

“These transport corridors are very expensive in Te Tumu, circa $400 million. The current approach we have around funding from NZTA means that we have a substantive funding gap.”

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Mead said they were seeking endorsement, not funding, for the Te Tumu roads at this stage because there was no confirmed timeframe for the development.

Housing was unlikely to be delivered in Te Tumu until 2040, once land development and civil works timeframes were considered.

The Boulevard's preferred option was to be the area’s public transport route with two dedicated bus lanes and two for traffic.

Te Okuroa Drive’s preferred option was a four lane road with a dual cycleway on one side and a shared path on the other.

Mead said they would be ‘limited access roads’ that didn’t have driveways off them, but would have intersections with local roads.

Commission chair Anne Tolley said the multi-modal transport options were important.

“Even if we just purchase the land and we don't get the funding because it's really hard and expensive to come back later on.”

The commission wouldn’t want to see the roads narrowed and government policy would likely change, said Tolley.

Council strategy, growth and governance manager Christine Jones told Local Democracy Reporting if the council only received a 10 per cent subsidy of $40m, instead of half, the rest of the funding would need to be found elsewhere.

If this funding couldn’t be found externally it would need to be paid for by developers, said Jones.

This could result in the 6000 Te Tumu homes each costing an extra $27,000, she said.

NZTA Bay of Plenty and Waikato regional manager system design Jess Andrew said the National Land Transport Fund does not contribute to the cost of growth where a private developer is the primary beneficiary.

This has been made clear since December 2021, she said.

“This is because public investment should be targeted to delivering public benefit. The costs of growth are to be borne by local councils and the developers.”

Any works that added a “broader public benefit” would be eligible for funding, said Andrew.

The business case will go to NZTA for endorsement of the preferred options for the Te Tumu transport corridors.

LDR is local body journalism co-funded by RNZ and NZ On Air

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