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Published: 2012-05-08 00:00:00

The regional transport committee has backed a programme that will see more than $1.1 billion spent on transport projects in the Waikato over the next three years.

The Waikato Regional Land Transport Programme for 2012-15 is the basis for the region requesting a partnership with central government on transport funding.

Sixty-six submissions were received when the consultation period on the programme closed in February, with 28 presenting in person to the hearings committee.

Committee chairman Norm Barker said public feedback helped to refine the final version of the programme.

“It was pleasing to receive a number of submissions touching on a range of topics, while generally supporting the committee’s view of the transport issues facing the region and regional priorities for funding,” Waikato regional councillor Barker said.

“We share community concerns about Government funding constraints, which undoubtedly present challenges around delivery on public transport, as well as walking and cycling strategies.

“As a result of the submissions, hearings and deliberations, there were only relatively minor changes that had to be made, which signals the integrity of the draft document.

“Over the next three years we will be moving forward with a planned investment of $1.141 billion on transport projects for the Waikato,” he said.

The majority of the spend will be on new and improved state highways ($504 million) and new and improved local roads ($68 million).

“Funding for activities which improve safety and reduce the road toll have also been given a high priority by the committee. Perhaps unsurprisingly, investment in road safety activities was strongly supported by submitters to the draft programme,” he said.

The programme was endorsed at yesterday’s regional transport committee meeting, with Waikato Regional Council due to adopt the programme at its meeting on Thursday 24 May.