Making Hawke's Bay more competitive, fostering economic growth, and improving road safety is the focus of a three-year package of transport investment for the region announced today by the NZ Transport Agency.
NZTA Regional Director Central Jenny Chetwynd says today’s announcement of the National Land Transport programme includes an investment of $180m for the upkeep of the region’s roads over the next three years. The package also includes regional funds to improve transport links to the Port of Napier through the development of the Whakatu Outlet, the Expressway/Pakowhai Road intersection, and improvements of the expressway to the Port corridor through Napier.
Ms Chetwynd says the NZTA will also invest strongly in public transport and walking and cycling initiatives.
Ms Chetwynd says the package of transport improvements would free up access to the Port, particularly from the Hastings industrial area, improving the efficiency and productivity of moving goods from their source to their destination.
‘We want the transport system to be a real catalyst for economic growth and prosperity, and freeing up access to the Port will make the Hawke’s Bay economy more competitive, and unlock further potential for economic growth. ‘
Ms Chetwynd says safety was also a top priority, and that targeted investment would be focused on addressing high-risk sections of road to help bring down Hawke’s Bay’s worrying road toll.
‘The number of people losing life on Hawke’s Bay roads is a real ongoing tragedy, and a big focus over the next few years is identifying where the risks are, what the root causes of these crashes are, and targeting these areas to turn this around.’
Ms Chetwynd said pedestrians and cyclists will continue to benefit from Hastings being one of New Zealand’s first chosen ‘model communities’ for walking and cycling.
‘Hastings has very much set the gold standard for making travel safe and easy for pedestrians and cyclists. We’ll continue to invest strongly in its network of walking and cycling pathways,. This will make walking and cycling safer and more attractive, which will help to prevent congestion while also providing health, convenience and recreational benefits for this active city.’
The programme also includes continuing investment of $10m for public transport to help make bus travel more attractive and prevent congestion.
The investment in Hawke’s Bay is part of a $12.28 billion investment in New Zealand’s land transport system set out in the 2012-15 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP), including $9.38 billion from the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF). The NLTP is a partnership between local authorities (who invest funding from ratepayers and prioritise activities and projects for funding) and the NZTA (which develops the programme and invests NLTF funds collected from road users through vehicle registration fees and fuel taxes.
Ms Chetwynd says the 2012-15 NLTP follows the direction outlined in the Government Policy Statement on land transport funding (GPS), with a focus on creating transport solutions that will support economic growth, improve safety, provide people with a range of transport choices and deliver the best possible value for money.
Ms Chetwynd says that while the 2012-15 NLTP represents a significant investment in New Zealand’s transport system, with the country facing tight economic conditions, not all proposed activities could be funded.
‘We’ve been working closely with local councils to ensure that funding is carefully targeted to the areas and the activities where it is needed the most and where it will deliver the best outcomes for the greatest number of people in the region,’ Ms Chetwynd says.
The preparation of the 2012-15 NLTP has been informed by 16 regional transport committees and Auckland Transport developing and submitting regional land transport programmes outlining activities to be prioritised for NLTP funding.
Ms Chetwynd says the NZTA will continue working closely with councils as the NLTP is implemented over the next three years.
National and regional NLTP documents, Q&As and other information is available on the NZTA website at www.nzta.govt.nz/nltp(external link).