INDEPENDENT NEWS

New Legislation Will Help Transport Improvements

Published: Tue 9 Dec 2003 11:12 AM
Media release
5 December 2003
New Legislation Will Help Transport Improvements
The Land Transport Management Bill will make planning of regional transport improvements easier, Manukau mayor Sir Barry Curtis says. The Bill was passed earlier this month.
One of the key innovations is the allowance for the first time of Private Public Partnerships (PPPs) and the introduction of toll roads. These will permit the private sector to pay for transport projects such as new roads in instances where there is not enough funding available from the state sector sources.
Sir Barry says, “This is of great help because the cost of needed transport improvements in the Auckland region is extremely high. And there is simply not enough money in government coffers to pay for them. If we want to finish the incomplete motorway network we have to get the money from the private sector, which will expect a return on its money through tolls.”
Under the new legislation tolling is allowed on new roads and bridges provided there is community support for a project.
Sir Barry says, “The clogging on our motorways and major roads is so bad that drivers will accept the need for user charges, just as motorists who use the tolled roads in Europe do.”
The new legislation also sets out five key goals for the transport system,
allows more flexibility and a more strategic and integrated approach to planning and funding , permits regional councils to own transport infrastructure and services and aligns processes with those of the Local Government Act
Sir Barry says the Bill will help with the upgrade of the train system which is already well underway and has led to a 30% increase in passengers since October last year. “It’s good for the region because Auckland’s needs have driven the legislation, and the government’s listened to what we have been saying. It will also mean the development of more walkways.
“However I still believe the Act could have been much better drafted in some respects. It’s possible that we will have to consult to death.
“Government agencies need to be sensible in their administration of the Act’s provisions for consultation, consideration of alternatives and information required to support funding applications. Otherwise, urgently-needed projects will face still more delay than they do now.
“I also believe the Act does not go far enough and look forward to further legislation next year which will permit road charging such as cordon tolls and improve governance arrangements within Auckland.”
Ends

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