Transport Minister Michael Wood has announced that 46 councils across New Zealand will receive a share of $350 million as part of the Government’s Transport Choices package for 2022 to 2024.
The funding will go towards 397 new or upgraded bus stops, 242kms of cycleways, 119 school zone improvements, 29 more walkable neighbourhoods, and 11 new bus lanes, but there’s no talk of maintaining our pothole-riddled roads.
And yet, the Government believes the package is a “commitment to infrastructure investment” when arguably the greatest asset to the country’s transport infrastructure, our network of State Highways, is being neglected.
The recently-opened $1.25 billion Transmission Gully just north of Wellington is among the roads already facing deterioration with 14 pot holes opening up after a weekend of heavy rain in late November.
Taranaki is another region that continues to battle poor road conditions with drivers submitting over 70 damage claims to Waka Kotahi caused by potholes alone.
However, the transport funding is said to make towns and cities more friendly places to live, for non-car owners at least.
At the core of the Transport Choices package is a focus on climate change with Wood saying the multi-million dollar initiative claiming better transport choices is a “huge part of the solution” to lower emissions.
Waka Kotahi will work with councils across the country in a two-stage process to approve their projects with construction beginning by June 2023.