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Safety Transfund's focus for West Coast

Safety Transfund's focus for West Coast

Road safety is the focus for West Coast in Transfund New Zealand's National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) for the coming year.

Transfund today announced it has allocated $1.42 billion to transport in New Zealand and, of this, $20.24 million has been allocated for investment in West Coast's land transport network in the 2004/05 NLTP. This comprises:

* road maintenance for state highways and local roads ($17.40 million)

* state highway and local road construction projects ($2.58 million)

* passenger transport services ($0.05 million).

Transfund chair Dr Jan Wright says the money allocated to the region is likely to increase during the year should West Coast local authorities and Transit New Zealand make applications for funding transport activities meeting Transfund's requirements.

Projects approved for funding in 2004/05 include seal extensions on Cargill, Deep Creek and Haupiri roads and replacement of Watson Creek bridge in the Grey district.

Other projects which may be funded during the year include improvements to Millerton Track at Stockton in Buller and a seal extension and other improvements to Logburn Road to provide access to the proposed Pyke River coal mine in the Grey district, Dr Wright says.

Other smaller state highway projects that may begin during the year include installation of a guard rail between Dawsons to Tindalls Creek on SH7 in Buller, realignment of Spring Creek Curve on SH6 and improvements to McKendries Corner on SH7.

Dr Wright says passenger transport funding of $52,700 is being allocated to the region for 2004/05. This includes an increase in Transfund's ongoing commitment to transport for the disabled and transport disadvantaged within the region through a subsidised taxi service.

Also being released with the NLTP is Transfund's 10 year financial forecast, Dr Wright says.

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.

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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