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Government Pothole Cash In Line With Ashburton Plan

Ashburton Mayor Neil Brown is welcoming a significant funding boost for local roads as the Coalition Government is delivering on its pothole fund commitment.

Transport Minister Simeon Brown announced last week that the NZ Transport Agency Board confirmed indicative funding levels in the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) which will deliver on the Government’s commitment to significantly increase funding for road maintenance.

“NZTA has confirmed that over the next three years the agency will deliver a record $2.07 billion for State Highway pothole prevention and $1.9 billion for local road pothole prevention.

“We have ringfenced this record investment in the pothole prevention fund to resealing, rehabilitation, and drainage maintenance works to ensure that NZTA and councils get our State Highways and local roads up to the safe and reliable standards that Kiwis expect.”

The funding boost represents a 91% increase in funding for state highway pothole prevention and a 50% increase in the total funding for local road pothole prevention, he said.

Mayor Brown said the significant increase is a much-needed investment in local roads.

“It’s certainly needed and we’ve been calling for this for years,” he said.

How the allocation of the pothole fund impacts funding in Ashburton will become clearer when the NLTP is released in full later this year.

The Ashburton District Council already increased its road funding in the long-term plan, looking to spend $67.6 million over the next ten years on road upgrades.

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Those figures are “lining up” with what NZTA will fund, Mayor Brown said.

“It’s matching up.

“We submitted ours through the regional land transport plan and it's coming out pretty close.

“We aren’t gaining much headway though. We will be getting more work done but inflation gobbles up a lot of the extra dollars.”

The council also included funding towards restoring the 105-year-old historic railway footbridge and NZTA has indicated it will also fund that work, Brown said.

Local Government New Zealand president Sam Broughton reacted to the announcement by reiterating calls for more investment and greater local decision-making in transport.

“The state of roads and the needs of each region vary greatly, and councils are best placed to make investment decisions, not Wellington,” Broughton said.

“We’re concerned there is a growing level of Wellington-decided ringfencing of how councils can invest in local transport needs.

“We will see better and cheaper outcomes by empowering those decisions to be made at a local level.
“We look forward to seeing the rest of the decisions on the National Land Transport Fund align with these principles.” 

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

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