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Published: 2015-04-07 00:00:00

Completing the Waikato Expressway remains the top priority in a new Regional Land Transport Plan endorsed today.

The 2015-2045 plan, signed off by the multi-stakeholder regional transport committee at its meeting in Hamilton, is due to come into effect once it is signed off by the regional council.

Regional transport committee chairman Hugh Vercoe, from the regional council, said the plan was a long-term strategic blueprint for addressing transport challenges in the wider region.

“Examples of other key priorities identified in the plan include a focus on roads and rail lines that connect us to our regional neighbours and contribute to improved freight efficiency. There is also a focus on improving safety outcomes, such as reducing safety risk on key roads and advancing speed management,” said Cr Vercoe.

“With a changing population profile in different parts of the region, other priorities identified include optimising and growing public transport in and around Hamilton, and improving accessibility for people who are disadvantaged by having limited physical access to essential services.”

Cr Vercoe said the regional transport committee members have worked hard together to develop the latest plan.

"I would like to thank local councils and agencies such as the NZ Transport Agency and the NZ Police for their collective effort. Working together allows us to speak with one voice to central Government when it comes to major transport priorities that will help improve quality of life for communities across our region.”

Meanwhile, Cr Vercoe noted public submissions supporting commuter rail between Hamilton or north Waikato and Auckland.

“The plan expresses support for the concept but acknowledges it is currently not a feasible option. However, under the plan, the committee will continue to look for opportunities to pursue commuter rail further.”