Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Hamilton Mayor says road funding doesn’t address city congestion

Hamilton City Council has welcomed funding earmarked for the city from Waka Kotahi New Zealand Transport Agency over the next three years – with one caveat.

Waka Kotahi’s 2021-24 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) was announced yesterday, with $163.5 million of guaranteed government funding for transport projects in Hamilton.

The NLTP also includes another $30.2 million of funding that is expected to be approved during the NLTP period, bringing Waka Kotahi’s total share of potential costs over the three years to more than $193 million.

Under the NLTP, Waka Kotahi co-invests 51% of the cost of approved projects with Council funding the remaining 49%.

Key projects to receive funding include:

  • the extension of Borman Road in Rototuna;
  • improvements to the Hamilton Transport Centre;
  • the upgrade of Ruakura Road;
  • the Cambridge Road to Cobham Drive section of Wairere Drive (Hamilton Ring Road);
  • arterial roads for the new Peacocke community.

In addition to these projects, funding has also been approved for low-cost (less than $2 million), low-risk projects for Council’s road to zero initiatives, local road improvements and maintenance, and road safety education.

The level of funding for these low-cost programmes is significantly higher than the previous three years, which Hamilton Mayor Paula Southgate said she was pleased to see, especially the investment in Council’s vision for zero deaths or serious injuries on Hamilton roads.

“We want to shape a city that is easy and safe to get around, and this funding will help us make important improvements and upgrades to the transport network across our city,” Mayor Southgate said.

“And I know all Councillors will be very pleased to see funding for the extension of Borman Road in Rototuna secured.”

But it was not all good news, she said. Council intends to lobby for further investment into projects that would allow residents to decrease their reliance on private motor vehicles.

Of the $163.5 million in fully approved funding, just $5.2 million is for walking and cycling improvements and $1.07 million is for public transport infrastructure. Another $10 million of probable funding is tagged for the School Link project to provide safer biking and scootering connections along the Hukanui Road/Peachgrove Road corridor.

“We absolutely must do something about congestion in our city; we cannot let it get worse. So, for our broader biking and micro-mobility programme to receive very little funding is really disappointing, especially given the government direction on climate change,” Mayor Southgate said.

“Promoting different modes of transport benefits all road users so we will be advocating strongly to get this funding in place. And we will also be having wider conversations with Waka Kotahi around some other projects, including Southern Links. There are a lot more conversations to be had yet.”

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