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Published: 2009-03-19 00:00:00

The Government’s inclusion of the State Highway 1 Waikato Expressway in a new list of high priority "roads of national significance" is more great news for getting the project finished quickly, says Regional Transport Committee acting chair Paula Southgate.

The list of the seven "most urgent" nationally significant roading projects was announced today by Transport Minister Steven Joyce. The seven were described as essential routes that required "priority treatment" to "reduce congestion, improve safety and support economic growth".

The announcement followed news earlier this week that the Government was to make an extra $1 billion available for state highway projects such as the Waikato Expressway.

Cr Southgate, of Environment Waikato, said the Waikato Expressway’s inclusion on the list of seven was fantastic.

"It’s good to see the increasing recognition of how important finishing the Waikato Expressway is for helping save lives, reducing hospital admissions and boosting economic efficiency through improved transport infrastructure.

"The Regional Transport Committee will want to see these positive announcements translated into positive action on the ground as soon as practically possible.

"Our region will work hard with the Government to help make quick completion of the Waikato Expressway a reality. People’s safety and optimal economic efficiency require that we get on with the job as soon as possible.

"The Waikato Expressway is a key corridor route carrying huge amounts of passenger traffic and freight within and through our region, so getting things right is crucial for those safety and economic reasons."