SunLive         

Last week, Council voted to start widening 15th Avenue, continue the upgrade of Domain Rd in Papamoa, and improvements in Arataki; all without guaranteed Government funding.

Local road construction (excluding State Highways) is funded 50-50 between the council and Government. I shouldn’t say it’s Government funding because you’re paying for it every time you fill up at the pump or pay road-user charges; likewise, with council rates.

Up until last year, there wasn’t much trouble getting Government’s contribution but as their focus and budget has shifted away from roads, councils around the country are facing shortfalls in transport projects.

To bridge the gap in the interim, TCC has agreed to finance these projects through a rates-funded loan.

We shouldn’t have to do this because you’ve already paid Government’s share, but we can’t let our city grind to a halt. However, we can’t fund all the city’s transport needs through your rates invoice either; no council has the capacity to do that. We need a willing partner in Government.

My greatest frustration as a councillor is how reliant we are on NZTA, not just because our city is ringed by State Highways that are inadequate but for funding local roads too.

That’s why we can’t widen Turret Road with a new bridge yet as the cost will be a lot more than $60m and we don’t have Government’s support.

I can’t be too critical of the current Government because I recognise the previous one promised four lanes from Welcome Bay to Cameron Rd but didn’t deliver that either.

Straight from city council
A personal view,
by Councillor Steve Morris