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Waikato weighs in on Government's plan for land transport and petrol tax

DAVID WALKER/STUFF

The Government announced its 10-year plan for land transport and petrol tax to fund new land transport plans that focus on investing in road safety and rapid rail. There’s a few unanswered questions for Waikato with the Government’s 10-year plan announced for land transport and petrol tax[1]. The proposed tax increase, between nine and 12 cents a litre over three years, will fund new land transport plans that focus on investing in road safety and rapid rail.

But the question for some is whether the highway extension from the Piarere turnoff, between Cambridge and Tirau, will go ahead.

Waikato weighs in on Government's plan for land transport and petrol taxTOM LEE/STUFF

Hamilton Mayor Andrew King said the plan looks promising for Hamilton in regards to the rail, freight and footpath transport. While the commuter train between Hamilton and Auckland looks more promising, state highway upgrades do not with a cut in funding. READ MORE:
* Government to invest in road safety and rapid rail at expense of state highway upgrades
* Hamilton fuel tax idea gets a no from central government
* National MPs launch road upgrade petition in Waikato[2][3][4]

The Waikato Expressway projects will be completed, as part of the Roads of National Significance under the last Government, but overall, all projects funding would decrease by 11 per cent.

Waikato weighs in on Government's plan for land transport and petrol taxTOM LEE/STUFF

National Hamilton East MP David Bennett said the GPS announcement is a disaster for the Waikato, and doesn’t see the Waikato Expressway extension for the Piarere turnoff between Cambridge and Tirau going ahead. Waikato Regional Transport Committee Chair Hugh Vercoe said the committee’s number one priority was Piarere intersection. He said the announcement didn’t seem to favour their first priority.

“We want the Waikato Expressway to be fully completed, not just go south of Cambridge then no actual end. “It will be disappointing to us if that doesn’t happen. So it’s a little bit of a grey area, we know they have reduced the spending in that area, so that is the question that we are waiting on.”

Waikato weighs in on Government's plan for land transport and petrol taxKELLEY TANTAU/STUFF

Labour MP for Hamilton East Jamie Strange said the new plan increases the opportunity for the commuter rail between Hamilton and Auckland and making our regional roads safer.

He said the Government looked like they were wanting to invest in passenger rail which looked promising but that was further down the committee’s line of priorities.

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“We have put in a lot of work, meeting regularly, all players on board, to get to this point with the passenger train line between Auckland and the Waikato.” Walking and cycling infrastructure is getting a 248 per cent boost in funding over three years and a whole new area is being set up to deal with funding for rapid transit. Hamilton mayor Andrew King said he was pleased for Hamilton looking at rail, freight and footpath transport.

“It indicates support for rail projects, which is important for Hamilton with the passenger rail, and freight which fits in with our inland port. “But also looking at a whole gamut of transport, trucks, cars, walking, rail, shipping, public transport, biking and so on. “Including active transport is important as it hasn’t really been funded to a full degree in the past.”

But National MP for Hamilton East, David Bennett, said the announcement was a disaster for the Waikato. Extending the Waikato Expressway was one of National’s proposed upgrades, with a four-lane extension for the Piarere turnoff between Cambridge and Tirau. Bennett believes the highway upgrade will no longer go ahead.

“Waikato had worked hard to get their share of the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF) and the new plan has put the region at risk,” he said. Adding, infrastructure investment leads to economic growth that increases safety. “Waikato motorists will be paying extra tax and at the same time lose out on major infrastructure investment.

We’re basically now paying extra tax that’s going into Auckland public transport.” Hamilton-based Labour list MP Jamie Strange said the new plan increases the opportunity for the commuter rail between Hamilton and Auckland and making our regional roads safer. But he said there was no final decision on the upgrade of the Piarere road, and that would be made by NZTA.

“It’s too early to be ruling anything out,” he said. “But from my understanding there have been some challenges around the upgrade that could feed into their decision.

“While there has been a drop in funding for four-lane roads, it’s only a small drop.

The Government will still be investing in regional highways, however, money is distributed to projects chosen by NZTA.”

– Stuff

References

  1. ^ Government’s 10-year plan announced for land transport and petrol tax (www.stuff.co.nz)
  2. ^ Government to invest in road safety and rapid rail at expense of state highway upgrades (www.stuff.co.nz)
  3. ^ Hamilton fuel tax idea gets a no from central government (www.stuff.co.nz)
  4. ^ National MPs launch road upgrade petition in Waikato (www.stuff.co.nz)
  5. ^ Ad Feedback (stuff.co.nz)



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