Warning over road funding

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Ashburton’s roads will deteriorate over time unless the council can get more funding from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA).

The bleak forecast is outlined in the forward to the council’s consultation document for its draft Long Term Plan.

The council will discuss the draft plan and consultation document at an extraordinary meeting today (April 12).

It says: “Time and again we’ve highlighted the disproportionate size of our roading network for our population – 2623km for 34,000 people, with 16,810 rateable units. We’ve told you how we’ve lobbied central government and NZTA to recognise the importance of our roads to the regional and national economy.

“We’ve asked NZTA to approve and help co-fund a $14m annual work programme to keep current levels of service for our roads, which is an additional $3m above the previously agreed annual work programme.

“If they decline, we need to choose whether or not we abandon this work programme altogether, which will have a significant impact on the rate of deterioration of our roads, or reduce it by half so we halt the rate of decline; or we loan fund and rate for the whole work programme to keep the levels of service the same.”

The council said it became more critical as it finalised the details of taking over the care of the 24 Rangitata Diversion Race bridges.