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Monday, February 19, 2018

SunLive - The Bay's news first
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Planning our transport future

Jane Nees
BOP Regional Councillor

By the time you read this, submissions will have closed on the draft Regional Land Transport Plan prepared by the Bay of Plenty Land Transport Committee, of which I’m chair.

This plan is a statutory requirement and sets out the transport direction, priorities and activities for the region for the next 30 years.

The plan is the way the region seeks central government funding for activities like road safety, walking and cycling, public transport and road improvements.

Hearings on submissions will occur in February and final decisions will result in our ‘what we want to do’ list with the ultimate allocation of funds determined by the New Zealand Transport Agency.

Our vision is for “the best transport systems for a growing economy and a safe and vibrant Bay lifestyle”.

There are many challenges ahead. Total freight volumes by road, rail and coastal shipping are expected to increase by up to 42 per cent by 2042.

Port volumes are expected to increase by up to 3.1 per cent per annum for the next 30 years.

Bay of Plenty roads already carry more freight per kilometre of road than any other region and forecast freight growth will see even more trucks on our roads in the future.

This has a significant impact on maintenance costs and since affordability is a huge issue, we need to consider trade-offs with the rail network with regards to freight.

Our population is expected to grow, especially in the west, and transport infrastructure needs to be carefully planned so that transport stays cost effective and accessible for all while meeting the demand for greater urbanisation and economic growth.

Safety is a huge issue in the Bay of Plenty, with road accidents costing an estimated $197 million in 2013.

Our region compares poorly with others across New Zealand on a wide range of safety measures.

Some of our busiest roads have no alternative routes, so road closures can cause big disruptions.

The growing frequency and severity of extreme weather events will certainly make this a more significant issue in the future.

Planning our transport future is a serious business. Fortunately, we have a good collaborative model in the Bay which has developed a strong business case for transport funding.2012

If you have any views on this or any other issue, please contact me on or ring me on 07 579 5150.                  


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