Transport system boost
Auckland’s transport system will receive a $2.8 billion funding boost during the next three years, a $613 million increase in investment compared with previous years.
The funds are part of the New Zealand Transport Agency’s $8.7b boost for the national land transport programme.
It is designed to move Auckland forward with a significant increase in public transport spending and a stronger capital works programme for state highways.
Agency chief executive Geoff Dangerfield says it places emphasis on activities that encourage economic growth, productivity and employment.
He says Auckland’s public transport system is set to receive $518m during the next three years through the programme.
“Public transport is critical to contributing to economic growth in the region by reducing peak time congestion.”
Mr Dangerfield says other priorities for the investment include new or upgraded rail stations, new trains, integrated ticketing, ferry terminal upgrades, completing the central connector bus corridor, funding roads of national significance and many other projects.
Sandringham Rd improvements near Eden Park in preparation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup will also be funded.
“Auckland is the engine room of the national economy and this additional investment will help unlock the region’s potential to increase productivity and create jobs at a critical time for New Zealand.”
Transport Minister Steven Joyce says this is the largest ever investment in the system and represents a 17 percent increase from the previous three-year period.
“This sustained boost to investment refl the importance of transport to our economic prospects.”
Mr Joyce says within three years the Victoria Park project will be complete and the western ring route construction will have started.
The time frame for the programme allows for investments with a longer term view.
Auckland Business Forum chairman Michael Barnett says he is disappointed there is no funding provision for the east-west link between State Highway 1 at Mt Wellington and SH20 at Onehunga.
“The Neilson St corridor carries more freight and other business traffic than many of the region’s state highways and is heavily congested most days.”