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The Government is being called upon to show leadership and provide more funding to help Dunedin create a better transport network.
Some changes have been forced on the city because of the construction of a new hospital in the city centre, but proposed transport solutions were underwhelming, Dunedin city councillor Jim O’Malley said.
Engineering designs were being made to fit the available spend, which was limiting their effectiveness, Cr O’Malley said.
"Design is a reflection of willingness to spend and there’s just not enough allocated," he said.
"It’s our time."
Among the problems is that State Highway 1 is the principal north-south route, but it proceeds through a busy urban area that includes the University of Otago and the planned new hospital.
Cr O’Malley said the South Island’s second-largest city was not commanding the level of capital spending an important metropolitan centre might expect.
A bigger allocation of national funding could also help the city implement solutions that would be a better fit with Government transport and environment policies, he said.
The councillor’s commentary came after the Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency announced it intended to stick with the SH1 one-way system through central Dunedin.
Dunedin Mayor Aaron Hawkins covered some similar themes to Cr O’Malley in a letter to the agency.
A package of changes — known as Shaping Future Dunedin Transport — had been worked on by the city council, the Otago Regional Council and Waka Kotahi.
It included works such as improving a harbour arterial route to serve as a central city bypass and improving cycling facilities.
For the package to be successful, it needed to be about more than minimising disruption from constructing the new hospital, Mr Hawkins said.
"It also has to be the catalyst for a more future-focused transport network."
"For our projects to achieve their full potential, they require a commensurate degree of ambition and resourcing from other parties, of which Waka Kotahi is a crucial one."
A spokeswoman for Waka Kotahi said transport projects were funded nationally based on meeting objectives, rather than on an equity basis.
Based on population, Otago’s funding was within 1% of what it would be entitled to, compared with other regions, she said. It was on target, based on GDP.
Minister of Transport Michael Wood is to visit Dunedin in April and his office has said discussion of SH1 will be on the agenda.