The Canterbury Regional Transport Committee today approved funding for the Christchurch Southern Motorway Extension - Canterbury’s number one priority transport project.
Representatives from across the region’s councils voted unanimously in favour of a funding plan for the scheme that supports the planned 2013 opening date. Funding for the state highway scheme will come from regionally distributed government funds of $142.5 million, with the balance of $33.5 million to come from Crown funds awarded to Canterbury in 2008.
Committee chairperson and Environment Canterbury deputy chair Jo Kane said the decision was a significant step forward for Canterbury and the extension will improve travel times and reliability for access to the Port of Lyttelton, provide local relief to parallel corridors and allow for better provision of walking, cycling and public transport facilities.
“I am delighted with today’s decision by the Committee,” said Cr Kane. “After a number of months of careful consideration, we have reviewed how our entire ten year programme could be funded and how our priorities align with Government’s. It’s now clear that this project offers significant benefits to the regional and national economy, and the decision today demonstrates our region’s commitment to the Government’s aim of promoting economic development and growth. This is just one of Canterbury’s roads of national significance announced by the Minister in mid-March, and we as a region look forward to ongoing work with the Minister and his officials to advance more local projects that deliver on national priorities.”
Cr Kane said that the wider programme of work is very well aligned with national transport and economic objectives and offers great value for money to the Government and for ratepayers where local funding of projects is required. The committee will work with Government to ensure the contribution local communities make through their long term plans is supported by Government, through appropriate funding support.
“The ten year plan takes an holistic view of the regional transport system’s needs, across the urban and rural areas, and we see huge merit in Government supporting the delivery of local works that add value to their state highway investments, such as this Southern Motorway Extension,” said Cr Kane.
Canterbury’s ten year improvement programme to 2019 amounts to over $1.2 billion of activities focussed on releasing the economic potential of the region and delivering the Canterbury Regional Land Transport Strategy. It aims to ensure an efficient, effective, safe and sustainable transport system into the future.
For more information contact: Regional Transport Committee Chair Councillor Jo Kane, 027 323 2326.