Transport projects weighed up

Deliberations to prioritise more than 200 transport projects proposed by Otago's local authorities are under way, as part of a regional bid for funding from the New Zealand Transport Agency.

The Otago Regional Council's transport committee is responsible for determining whether proposed activities are given priority before they are considered for funding by the NZTA against other projects from around the country.

About $426 million in NZTA subsidies has been projected for the Otago region for the next three years.

However, a finalised fund for 2012-2015 for actual expenditure on regionwide transport projects "remains unclear" until NZTA finishes an estimate of its subsidy contributions, a report from ORC transport manager Dr Jane Turnbull says.

Of 203 transport "activity" proposals put forward to the regional transport committee for prioritisation, 61 involve funding bids for the maintenance and operation of local council-administered roading projects.

About 48 projects fall within a "local road renewals" activity class, while there are 31 requests for funding for new and improved infrastructure projects, and 11 bids to improve state highway infrastructure.

A "regional" fund of about $32.7 million has already been committed by the NZTA to Otago, although not all of this fund is yet allocated to specific projects.

The NZTA's southern regional programme and planning manager, Bruce Richards, and the agency's principal planner, Ian McCabe, said some other regions in New Zealand were prepared to overbid for transport funds.

Discussions were taking place to ensure some northern regional transport committees would revise their projected funding bids to more realistic goals, Mr Richards told Otago's transport committee members.

Transport committee chairman Stephen Woodhead said Otago councils had taken on the message about structuring their bids in a pragmatic acceptance of how Government funding for transport was being allocated.



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