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Draft Transport Plans Step In Right Direction Says EMA

The EMA today welcomed the release of the Government’s draft Policy Statement on land transport.

EMA Head of Advocacy Alan McDonald says a well-maintained and efficient roading network is essential to helping drive our economic recovery.

"Businesses rely on moving goods, services and people across our cities and between regions quickly. Unfortunately, many of our urban centres in the upper North Island are suffering chronic congestion and deteriorating links between the cities, which is holding business back," says McDonald.

"That is why we welcome today’s commitment to reintroduce the Roads of National Significance, significantly improving connections between the golden triangle in the upper North Island

"There is an urgent need to upgrade the road to Whangarei. State Highway One over the Brynderwyns is not at an acceptable standard and has been closed too often in recent years, effectively cutting off Northland from the rest of the country.

"There has also been a lack of transport investment in the Tauranga region, which has been New Zealand’s fastest growing city for the past 20-years and is home to our largest exporting port.

"The plans outlined today, if accepted, will better connect Northland and the Bay of Plenty with Auckland and Hamilton, linking the New Zealand’s fastest growing cities and the country’s core manufacturing centres. We know from the experience of building the Waikato expressway the economic benefits of better connecting our regions is immense."

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McDonald also welcomed the increased commitment to maintenance and resilience funding for our roading network, as well as increased funding for public transport.

"Anyone driving on our state highway network in recent years will have seen the deterioration of our roads and the increasing number of potholes that they need to navigate," says McDonald.

"Better roads will reduce the costs of maintaining transports fleets by reducing wear and tear on vehicles. You shouldn’t have to worry about blowing a tyre because of the road conditions on a state highway.

"That is why it is important that we are not only building new roads to connect communities, but maintaining the roads we have, which the draft GPS appears to do.

"The increased funding for public transport in Auckland and Wellington will also be welcome news to commuters in those cities.

McDonald says that the EMA supports a conversation around how to better fund the land transport network and achieve value for money.

"There is only so much that you can put petrol tax up by, and we need to look at alternative funding streams. This should include looking at congestion charging as soon as possible, making better use of tolling, and accelerating private sector investment into major roading and public transport major projects."

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