Published 29 June 2009
The Auckland Regional Council adopted its 10-year plan, approved an average rates rise of 3.92% and turned down any pay rise for councillors today.
Chairman Mike Lee said balancing the budget was challenging after the Government abruptly cancelled the regional fuel tax and redirected funding to road construction: “This action led to a funding shortfall of more than $200 million over 10 years, which jeopardised key public transport initiatives.
“As a result, the ARC has been forced to borrow $44 million this financial year to ensure necessary investment can continue – for example, the construction of signature rail stations at Newmarket, New Lynn & Manukau City Centre, and the introduction of integrated ticketing.
“Investment in public transport, transforming Auckland’s waterfront and opening it up for the public have always been a priority for the ARC.”
The council’s plan includes:
an $80 million regional contribution to public transport infrastructure, part of the total $129 million capital investment to be made by ARTA (the Auckland Regional Transport Authority) this year (includes rail stations, ferry terminals, more trains & integrated ticketing)more & improved public transport services, with the regional contribution to ARTA’s operating funding increasing from $96 million last year to $102 millionthe acquisition of additional parkland to protect coastal landscapes from subdivision & sprawling developmenta $20 million contribution to the joint purchase of Queens Wharf with the Government, andredevelopment of the Wynyard Quarter through Auckland Regional Holdings and Sea + City Projects Ltd.
Cllr Lee thanked people who made submissions: “Their input led to a number of changes, including:
phasing out seabed licence fees paid at 3 Auckland marinas over the next 4 years, andconstructing a predator-proof fence by 2011as the council & community partners develop an open sanctuary at Shakespear Regional Park.
“I am pleased we have been able to agree a plan that ensures the momentum for vital infrastructure development continues – particularly in the area of public transport – while keeping rate rises down,” he said.
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Attribution: ARC release, story written by Bob Dey for the Bob Dey Property Report.