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Published: 2012-05-25 00:00:00

A programme that supports more than $1.141 billion in investment in transport projects for the Waikato region has been adopted by Waikato Regional Council.

This is more than double the existing amount of transport investment into the region.

The Waikato Regional Land Transport Programme for 2012-15 is the basis for the region requesting central government funding for all transport activities in the region over the next three years.

During yesterday’s council meeting, regional transport committee chairman Norm Barker said strong collaboration between all organisations on the committee had allowed for a strategic approach to transport in the region.

Cr Barker added that the committee had worked together effectively and, as a result, “this programme will potentially draw a huge amount of investment into the Waikato region”.

Over the three years of the programme the investment priorities will result in a significant focus on strategic transport corridors, principally the Waikato Expressway.

This focus will help to address freight and population growth issues and provide for economic development and productivity, road safety projects and the maintenance of Waikato’s existing land transport system.

The majority of the spend will be on new and improved state highways ($504 million) and new and improved local roads ($68 million).

Maintenance, operation and renewal of existing local roads and state highways have also been given the highest priority. This is in recognition of the heavy reliance on local roads and the state highway network to provide for the access and mobility needs of our communities and to support economic activity and efficient supply chain movements in and beyond the region.

This principle also applies to maintaining the level of service in our other transport modes including existing public transport services and walking and cycling infrastructure.

Road safety is of national and regional strategic importance and projects have been prioritised in the programme for continued investment on key strategic corridors in the region. Road safety promotion is also a high priority element of improving road safety.

The adopted regional land transport programme will now be forwarded to the NZ Transport Agency for incorporation into the national land transport programme. Final funding decisions will be announced in September.