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Development Transfund's focus for Northland

Safety and regional development Transfund's focus for Northland

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

Transfund New Zealand today announced it has allocated $59.43 million for investment in Northland's land transport network. This comprises:

* road maintenance for state highways and local roads ($39.75 million)

* state highway and local road construction projects ($16.46 million)

* forestry-related regional development projects ($2.20 million)

* passenger transport services ($0.38 million).

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

Projects which may be funded during the year include design and construction of the Kerikeri Heritage Bypass to protect the historic Kerikeri Stone Store and Kemp House in the Far North, three seal extensions in Kaipara district, repairs on State Highway 1 from Mangamuka to Rangiahua as a result of storm damage over the last 10 years, and seal extensions at various sites throughout the Whangarei district costing $2.09 million.

Other smaller state highway projects that may begin during the year include several safety projects, such as safety improvements to the Kerikeri intersection on State Highway 10, construction of passing lanes at Uretiti Road and Brook Road on State Highway 1 south of Whangarei and the realignment of State Highway 1 between Piroa Stream and the State Highway 12 intersection.

In 2004/05, Transfund has allocated $25.00 million for transport-related regional development projects throughout New Zealand. From this amount, $2.20 million has been allocated for projects in Northland to date. Again, this funding will increase during the year as additional projects are approved.

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

Passenger transport funding for Northland has increased by over 60 percent, ensuring the continuation of the Whangarei bus service which has more than doubled its patronage over the last three years.

Under the travel demand management, rail and barging (alternatives to roading) activity class, Transfund has received an indicative bid for construction of the Marsden Point rail link.

And under the promotion of walking and cycling activity class, Transfund has received funding requests for the investigation, design and construction of projects to improve the safety of pedestrians and cyclists by the Whangarei District Council and Transit New Zealand.

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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