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Auckland en route to fair share of transport funds

Auckland en route to fair share of transport funds

Auckland has moved towards securing around a third of government funding for land transport since the Labour-led government took office, says Auckland Issues Minister, Judith Tizard.

Ahead of further announcements expected on Friday (December 12), she has released an analysis of Transfund's national land transport programme from prior to the change of government in 1999, projecting through to 2006.

Judith Tizard says it shows Auckland getting an expanding and entirely appropriate share of transport funding, but not at the expense of other regions.

"The levels of funding reflect the government's long-term commitment to building a strong and confident nation, with world-class infrastructure a key to restoring New Zealand to the top half of the OECD," said Judith Tizard.

In the 1994-97 period, the last full three-year period before a Labour-led government was elected, Auckland received $420m from Transfund, or 21 percent of the national land transport programme total.

By the current period - 2000-2003 - this had risen to $759m - or 28 percent of government spending on land transport, including significant boosts for public transport and initiatives such as cycleways and busways.

"In the period to 2006, Auckland is projected to receive $1250 million - some 36 percent of Transfund's overall budget," said Judith Tizard.

"While there will be some delays due to the sheer scale of Auckland projects, the trend shows Auckland, with a third of the nation's population, is now getting its fair share of taxpayer funding."

Judith Tizard noted this had not come at the expense of other regions. Of 14 other regions, nine are budgeted to receive an increase in government land transport funding between 2000-03 and 2003-06, some substantially up. Wellington's budget has gone from $201m in 1997-2000 to $332m in 2003-06; in the same period, Canterbury's share jumps from $160m to a forecast $250m.

Even those regions which have seen some levelling of funding in the latest three-year period have generally had big increases in previous trienniums.

"The Transfund figures run the steamroller over anyone who tries to claim Auckland is not now getting its fair share of government transport funding, and those who suggest this is at the expense of the rest of New Zealand. While solving Auckland's gridlock problems is a priority for this government, we are not prepared to let the rest of the country's transport needs take a back seat."

From 1998/99 to 2003/4, the government contributed $1,635m to Auckland transport.

"This confirms that government is playing its part in the rejuvenation of Auckland's infrastructure," said Judith Tizard.

Last month, Judith Tizard helped turn the first sod for Stage 2 of the Central Motorway Junction, and attended the iwi blessing of the Greenhithe section of the Upper Harbour Corridor. Stage 2 of Spaghetti Junction, as Aucklanders know it, is the biggest roading construction contract in Auckland. The Greenhithe project is a critical part of the Western Ring Route.

"These projects and others such as the massive Grafton Gully to Port undertaking give Aucklanders welcome physical evidence that progress is being made. World-class infrastructure is a key to restoring New Zealand to the top half of the OECD."

A breakdown of the funding for Auckland includes:

- a 400% increase in government contribution (through Transfund) to passenger transport services between 1994-1997 ($15.8m per annum) and 2003-2006 (estimated $62m per annum).
- increased spending on State highway maintenance meeting population and traffic growth and increased in prices
- increases in spending on State highway construction moving from $150 million in 1994-1997 to a forecast $550 million in 2003-2006.

The key projects are:
(a)upgrading the central motorway network ($195 million) and Grafton Gully ($67 million)
(b)work towards completion of the Western ring route (State Highway 18) including the Greenhithe deviation ($94 million), Mt Roskill extension ($139 million) and upper harbour bridge duplication ($37 million)
(c)construct the North Shore Busway ($95 million) and start ALPURT B2 ($145 million)
(d)improving traffic management

ENDS

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