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Development Transfund's focus for Gisborne and Bay

Safety and regional development Transfund's focus for Gisborne and Hawkes Bay

Transfund New Zealand's focus for Gisborne and Hawkes Bay in the 2004/05 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) is safety and continuing support to address the impact of forestry traffic on the Tairawhiti region's transport networks.

Transfund today announced it has allocated $1.42 billion to transport in New Zealand and, of this, $69.16 million has been allocated for investment in Gisborne and Hawkes Bay's land transport network. This comprises:

* road maintenance for state highways and local roads ($49.16 million)

* state highway and local road construction projects ($11.74 million)

* forestry-related regional development projects for the Tairarawhiti region ($7.04 million)

* passenger transport services ($0.45 million).

Transfund chair Dr Jan Wright says this funding may increase during the year should Gisborne and Hawkes Bay's local authorities and Transit New Zealand make applications and the transport activities meet funding requirements.

Projects approved for funding this year include a seal extension in Wimbleton Road in Central Hawkes Bay and, in the Hastings district, the replacement of Ohiti Bridge, a programme of pavement smoothing and six seal extensions.

Projects which may be funded during the year include various road improvement projects in Napier and improvements to the Meeanee Road interchange on the Hawkes Bay Expressway, Dr Wright says.

Other smaller state highway projects that may begin during the year include the replacement of Mangahohi Bridge on State Highway 38 and the realignment of a curve north of Makarika Road on SH35.

In 2004/05, Transfund has allocated $25.00 million for transport-related regional development projects throughout New Zealand. From this amount, $7.04 million has been allocated for projects in Tairawhiti to date. Again, this funding will increase during the year as additional projects are approved.

"Transfund will continue to work with the Tairawhiti authorities to determine how Tairawhiti's share of this regional development funding is best applied," Dr Wright says.

Passenger transport funding for Gisborne and Hawkes Bay has increased by over 25 percent, due in part to the continued strong demand for total mobility services and increased cost of the packhouse bus service in Hawkes Bay.

Under the travel demand management, rail and barging (alternatives to roading) activity class, Transfund has received an indicative bid for continued funding to retain rail freight services on the Napier/Gisborne rail link.

And under the promotion of walking and cycling activity class, Transfund has received funding requests for the preparation of a cycle strategy for Central Hawkes Bay District Council, an extension to cycle facilities in Hastings and cycleway construction in Napier.

Dr Wright says Transfund's 10 year financial forecast is also being released with the NLTP. This forecast shows a significant increase in funding for the transport sector over the next 10 years, and includes the extra funding announced by the government last December which will be available from April 2005.

She says this funding will be distributed to regions on a population basis but has not yet been allocated through the NLTP as policy has not yet been finalised.

"This extra funding, which is a huge increase for transport in New Zealand, will accrue to each region.

Authorities will need to plan in advance so they can take advantage of this window of opportunity," Dr Wright says.

"This will require the sector to step up to a new level of activity. There are already signs this is happening with funding commitments for 2004/05 and beyond totalling more than $1 billion, a significant increase on the level a year ago."

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