Southern roads merger on table

Otago transport planners will further investigate the logistics of merging with their Southland counterparts.

A joint Otago Southland land transport plan will probably be discussed at a meeting in April comprising the two regional land transport committees.

Members of the Otago committee agreed to pursue the idea at their meeting in Dunedin last week.

The joint plan was mooted last year, as a sensible option given the existing collaboration among authority roading staff from both regions.

Already Environment Southland and Otago Regional Council staff co-operate on matters of shared interest, such as submissions to the Government and regional road safety planning.

Transport staff said a joint plan could result in more coherent and consistent transport policies, strategies and investment priorities.

It could also have more political influence than smaller separate regional plans, and address inter-regional issues.

The New Zealand Transport Agency will be involved in discussion about how a joint plan would be prepared and processed.

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