NZ Transport Agency road funding announcements provide clarity on councils’ share
The New Zealand Transport Agency has released its Funding Assistance Rates (FAR) which determines how central government land transport co-funding will be distributed over the next nine years.
The consequences of this are huge for Kapiti with the current state highway becoming a 'local road' on the completion of the Expressway. This will make it the Kapiti Coast Council's road and the costs of maintaining it could provide a tipping point for the severely indebted KCDC.
Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) President Lawrence Yule thanked the Transport Agency's extensive engagement with councils across New Zealand on the changes, and welcomes the clarity this announcement brings on the available share of funding for local and regional roads. The Transport Agency has worked closely with the sector on this issue. Not all members will be happy with the decisions but the balance struck appears generally fair given the funding pool available. The Agency's role is to allocate the funding pool provided by Government and the Government's role is to set the size of the funding pool.
"These decisions provide some funding clarity for communities. This is important with local government currently carrying the risk and cost for around 88 per cent of the country's road network," Mr Yule says.
"Roading is a major cost for communities – in the 2012/13 year councils invested $1.23 billion in new roading infrastructure, maintenance, renewal and operations. Even so, councils currently only receive around 46 per cent of road funding from central government sources; the remainder is locally funded."
For LGNZ the bigger issue is the quantum of the total funding pool that will be made available under the Government's Policy Statement on Land Transport Funding. This is expected to be announced by the Government soon and we are looking for Government to provide appropriate funding for all areas of New Zealand. This is a particularly important issue for rural and provincial New Zealand which produces the bulk of our country's export commodities and where the road network is a critical path to market.
Mr Yule says LGNZ has been lobbying the Government to carefully consider the size of its funding pool for land transport and to make sure that allocation of funding for local roads across New Zealand is set at the right level.
"It is vital that local and regional roads receive adequate investment to be functional, safe and help to realise economic benefits for all New Zealanders," Mr Yule says.
Other stories in this section:
KC News: the Internet Newspaper for the Kapiti Coast