No more funding for Transport Choices projects
The brakes have been pulled on walking, biking and public transport projects in our district and across the country after the coalition Government announced no more central government funding is available.
The Minister of Transport Simeon Brown advised local authorities there will be no further funding approved for the NZTA Waka Kotahi Transport Choices programmes, beyond existing contractual obligations. For our district, this means all projects put on hold in October 2023 will no longer receive funding for the construction phase. These include our CBD accessibility improvements, bus stop improvements, Matamata inner green route and Matamata connectivity projects, due to be completed this year. These projects would have seen safety improvements made to footpaths and crossings in the CBD for all three major towns, new shared paths, wayfinding and pedestrian crossings in Matamata as well as improvements to bus stops in Te Aroha.
“The $2.3million Transport Choices funding package was such a big win for our district as we were able to bring forward some of the projects the community had been asking for,” said Mayor Adrienne Wilcock.
“Fortunately the Morrinsville Recreation Ground perimeter walk, largely funded by Transport Choices, was well underway prior to the funding pause,” she said. “This popular shared path has made a big difference in connecting Morrinsville Rec to the town centre and providing another walk and bike option for locals and visitors. We also secured the pop up pump track and have a couple of smaller projects already approved so we look forward to seeing them develop.”
“As for the four projects that were due to be constructed this year, we’re aware these are important projects and there will be many who are no doubt disappointed we can’t make the fast progress we hoped for,” said Mayor Adrienne. “We’re now looking at our available funds to see if there’s anything we can achieve ourselves in the short term, with an understanding it will be at a much smaller scale.”
The New Zealand Transport Agency Waka Kotahi Transport Choices programme was funded by the Climate Emergency Response Fund investing $350 million nationwide in projects to provide safer and more convenient choices for walking, cycling, and public transport and reduce people’s reliance on cars. You can see more about the projects, including those no longer being funded, at mpdc.nz/walkbikeride