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Auckland's roads shortfall $500 million

Auckland's roads shortfall $500 million

Once Government's announced Transport Bill is enacted, hopefully by early next year, new road construction will still face growth limiting funding and consent constraints, says the Employers & Manufacturers Association (Northern).

"Business congratulates Transport Minister Paul Swain on his announcement yesterday that the Transport Strategy and Land Transport Management Bill will be released before the year's end," said Alasdair Thompson, EMA (Northern) chief executive.

"The Minister's promptness with these issues is appreciated. Auckland's transport needs urgent progress, especially on legislation to allow public private road construction and management partnerships.

"But with the best will in the world, the measures announced thus far won't be enough to alleviate Auckland's road congestion before at least 2010.

"This is too long to wait to start eating into the $1 billion that congestion is costing Auckland's road users every year.

"The ARC's Land Transport Strategy shows a shortfall in funding the region's scheduled road projects of $500 million over three years.

"The deficit begins next financial year; it does not include the expected part private funding of the Eastern corridor.

"Further steps beyond those already announced will be needed.

"One we recommend to the Minister is to allow Transfund to borrow to commence building critical highway projects rather than waiting until funding becomes available.

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"Public private partnerships (PPP's) for toll roads will also be necessary to get the roads built earlier than they otherwise would be.

"While business keenly supports the development of improved public transport, we are concerned the focus on it is diverting attention away from the need to complete urgently the motorway network.

"Not even the most optimistic assessment of the growth in PT usage is enough to offset the increasing congestion on our roads."

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