Saturday, May 25, 2024

Transport Minister reveals Roads of Regional Significance

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Transport Minister Simeon Brown has announced the coalition Government’s Roads of Regional Significance programme. Times file photo

Pakuranga MP Simeon Brown has made a major announcement this morning in his role as Transport Minister.

Brown says the coalition Government is launching ‘Roads of Regional Significance’ to sit alongside its Roads of National Significance as part of its plan to deliver priority roading projects across the country.

“The Roads of National Significance (RoNS) built by the previous National Government are some of New Zealand’s most successful State Highway corridors, reducing congestion and improving safety,” Brown says.

Expanding this programme to roads that are regionally significant will ensure that our cities and regions are well-connected, and our economy thrives.

“Similar to RoNS, Roads of Regional Significance will single out essential routes that require prioritisation.

“Roads of National Significance and Roads of Regional Significance will replace the NZ Upgrade Programme (NZUP) which was severely mismanaged by the previous government.

“NZUP was subject to significant cost blowouts that resulted in project cancellations and delays across the country.

“When we came to Government, we were advised that there would be a significant funding gap of up to $1.5 billion to deliver the NZUP projects.

“This is in addition to the cost increases which resulted in major project cancellations under the previous Government, such as Mill Road.”

Brown and Finance Minister Nicola Willis have agreed to delegate all decision-making responsibilities around project scope and delivery to the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA).

Government Ministers will no longer determine project scope and funding decisions which was leading to project delays and scope creep under Labour, Brown says.

“We are therefore changing how decisions are made on these projects and NZTA will be progressing with two RoNS and ten RoRS.

“Two further projects will now be incorporated into the Mill Road and Whangarei to Port Marsden Roads of National Significance listed in the draft Government Policy Statement on land transport 2024.

“In order to continue to deliver these projects, difficult decisions were made to keep costs within the existing $6.54 billion funding.

“We have made clear to NZTA that it must deliver these projects within the existing funding envelope, as there will be no additional Crown funding.”

Brown says today’s announcement provides much needed certainty of delivery to communities across the country that will benefit from these roading investments.

“Our Government will deliver a transport system that boosts productivity and economic growth and allows New Zealanders to get to where they want to go, quickly and safely.

“Prioritising the delivery of roading investment across New Zealand is part of our plan to boost productivity and rebuild the economy.”

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