Feedback is being sought from the community on a draft programme which identifies the funding priorities for Waikato’s transport projects over the next three years.
The Waikato Regional Land Transport Programme for 2012-15 is the basis for the region requesting central government transport funding. It includes the Waikato Regional Transport Committee’s view of the transport issues facing the region and regional priorities for funding.
Committee chairman Norm Barker said investment in the Waikato transport system was critical to improving regional and national economic prosperity, as well as road safety.
“Improving our region’s strategic transport infrastructure and maintaining our existing transport network and services supports growth and development and represents value for money,” Cr Barker said.
“Great strides are being made in delivering on the Regional Land Transport Strategy objectives with the completion, ongoing construction or planned construction of many significant transport projects,” he said.
“The draft programme we have just released for public consultation will serve the region and country well into the future.
“The committee has been united in its approach to transport in the Waikato and is strongly advocating for projects to be advanced for national transport funding.
“We have also placed a strong emphasis on activities to reduce the Waikato road toll, which include safety related roading and transport planning projects, as well as road safety promotion activities. Funding is essential to ensure all is done to reduce the number of serious injury and fatal road crashes in our region,” he said.
Cr Barker said there were some challenges for the committee to overcome in developing the programme, with the government signalling it would be reducing or capping funding for some activities.
“This has presented us with some challenges, particularly around meeting our strategy aims of reducing travel demand and promoting other transport modes, such as public transport.”
The key matters identified in the programme for consideration by the committee are:
- balancing Waikato Regional Land Transport Strategy outcomes with central government policy and funding direction
- recognising maintenance and renewal of the land transport system as a high priority
- continued support for completion of the Waikato Expressway by 2019
- balancing investment in both safety and economic development on the state highway network
- concern at funding constraints for public transport and other transport modes
- lack of investment in other regionally significant corridors (such as State Highway 3).
The Draft Regional Land Transport Programme and summary are available for viewing at local libraries, city and district council and Waikato Regional Council offices, or online.
Submissions must be received by the Waikato Regional Council by 4pm on Monday, 20 February 2012 and will be heard by a hearings committee over one or more days from Thursday, 8 March 2012.