Infrastructure News

Western Bay Of Plenty Infrastructure Forum Welcomes Innovative Infrastructure Investment

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The Western BOP Infrastructure Forum
believes the innovative infrastructure funding model
approved by Government this week, will help unlock some of
the key infrastructure projects for Tauranga. Through the
Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and the Infrastructure Funding
and Financing Act (IFF), Tauranga City Council will be able
to raise approximately $175m for infrastructure
projects.

Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty has
grown rapidly in the past two decades and its infrastructure
lags far behind current and future requirements. The lack of
suitable infrastructure is a major barrier for future growth
of the regional economy and affects local businesses as well
as nationally strategic assets such as the Port of
Tauranga.

Tauranga City Council will be the first
local authority in the country to utilise the IFF mechanism
and the approval will cover up to thirteen projects included
in the Western Bay of Plenty Transport System Plan (TSP).
Projects that could get part-funding include: Hewletts
Road/Totara Street/Hull Road improvements; an upgrade of the
Fifteenth Avenue/Turret Road connection to Welcome Bay; and
stage 2 of the multi-modal upgrade of Cameron Road, between
Seventeenth Avenue, Barkes Corner and beyond.

While
the WBOP Infrastructure Forum welcomes the funding support
for crucial projects, it stresses urgency in getting work
underway.

Nigel Tutt, Chair WBOP Infrastructure Forum
says “Announcements like this provide confidence for
businesses around provision of infrastructure in key
corridors. Enabling transport infrastructure also unlocks
the ability to enact development in housing, which is
severely constrained in the Bay of Plenty.”

”The
Western Bay of Plenty’s transport network needs billions
of dollars in investment. While the IFF announcement is very
positive, work must continue to happen at pace as delays
will simply cost businesses and funders more – we must
fast-track projects where possible. Infrastructure
investments in this area unlock better inter-regional
transport, and crucial housing and commercial property
development “, says Tutt.

The Forum is particularly
concerned with congestion and future capacity on key
transport routes into Tauranga as the city and its
importance to New Zealand grows, and it notes the strong
contribution of the businesses to funding base for
infrastructure via commercial rates.

“While it’s
great that this new mechanism for funding can support some
of the infrastructure gaps in Tauranga and the Western Bay
of Plenty, there is still more work to be done, especially
in government contribution to the region’s transport
network, connecting the Port of Tauranga to the rest of the
golden triangle’, says Forum member Greg Pert, Director of
Tranzliquid.

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