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Published: 2003-07-08 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is supporting an application for a subsidy to barge aggregate from Kopu, south of Thames to Auckland.

HG Leach and Co had applied for Environment Waikato’s support for their application for an Alternative to Roading subsidy from Transfund New Zealand. The company began barging trials in March, completing four shipments.

While the trials were successful the total cost was more expensive than trucking directly from the Thames Valley quarries to the Auckland market. However other benefits such as keeping trucks off the road, traffic congestion and vehicle exhaust emissions were not considered.

At this week’s Environment Waikato Regional Land Transport Committee meeting, Roading Transport Association representative Bill McLeod said it made no sense to take money out of roading to give to barging. While it may get trucks off the road it was cross subsidising.

South Waikato Mayor Gordon Blake said fairness of funding needed to be examined.

“Not just barging but rail could be looked at. Then you could at least look fairly at the various modes of transport.”

Hauraki District Council representative Don Challis said barging only removed “the bit in the middle” from road congestion. The transport was still creating congestion from the quarry to the barge and when it arrived in Auckland.