Good news on Melling, but 2029 is still way too late

Published: Fri 20 Sep 2019 10:36 AM
MP for Hutt South Chris Bishop has welcomed the announcement by NZTA today that they will pay $5.6 million to allow the new Melling interchange project to be designed and consented in an integrated way alongside the flood protection and urban revitalisation projects that make up the RiverLink project in the Hutt.
“This is very sensible and is what I’ve been pushing for since the Melling delay decision was announced in April.
“This is a real testament to people power – nearly 10,000 Hutt locals have signed my petition, with hundreds attending my public meeting in June and protest rally at Melling in July.
“While today’s announcement is good news the fundamental problem of Melling not being funded until 2029 or later still remain. The government has cut $5 billion from the state highway budget; with over a dozen projects cancelled or delayed as a result, including Melling. In recent days under pressure from National hey have signalled some money will be redirected from light rail back to state highways. If they hadn’t cut the highway budget in the first place then there could be spades in the ground at Melling right now.
“Melling is a critical project for the Hutt Valley and I will keep fighting hard as the MP for Hutt South to get this project expedited. National has committed that we will get on with it straight away if we have the privilege of being elected to government in 2020.
“We need to keep the pressure on to bring the funding date forward. It’s all very well having consents in place but if there is no money, there is no project. You can’t drive on a consent.”

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