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How to solve Auckland's transport problems

Hope for Auckland's chronic transport problems... The Alliance says it will create a development bank for Auckland in the hands of the democratically- elected Auckland Regional Council.

It would be charged with meeting Auckland's transport needs and other infrastructure problems And the Alliance is promising to provide a refund from GST on rates along with low interest loans to local authorities to help to get infrastructure development started.Alliance leader Jim Anderton presented the plan to ARC Chairperson Phil Warren this morning, saying the Alliance sees partnership with local government as one of the most important contributions it can make as the heart of a new government.

Under the plan, the ARC will be expanded to become a single unitary regional authority.'

Aucklanders will have one single body it can hold accountable for meeting its needs, and if its elected representatives fail, Aucklanders can vote them out,' Jim Anderton said.

The ARC would establish a development bank under democratic control to hold the $900-million worth of assets currently held by Infrastructure Auckland, including 80% of the Ports of Auckland, the America's Cup Village and Northern Disposal Systems.Extra development capital would be provided through a refund of some of the GST on rates, amounting to $50 million per year.

Auckland's share would be around $17 million per year. In addition, the Alliance will establish a $100 million per year revolving fund to finance long-term projects for environment al improvement such as water supply and sewerage systems.

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Individua l Auckland local authorities would be able to borrow from the fund to finance infrastructure projects, while the ARC's development bank would also have access to it to help to finance region-wide projects, such as upgrading Auckland's transport.

'The Alliance believes that this ownership structure and access to funds will maximise democratic accountability and remove the pressure to privatise assets as a short-sighted option to fund urgently needed infrastructural projects.

'Auckland's infrastructure problems are enormous and cannot be ignored. What Auckland needs is a government which is prepared to solve them in partnership with the local community, and which is prepared to trust Auckland to find the best way of addressing its problems,' Jim Anderton said.

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