NRC welcomes road building and maintenance announcement
Posted: 05-Feb-2020 |
National Road Carriers welcomes Government's road building and maintenance announcement
The Government's $5.3 billion road building and maintenance package announced yesterday has been welcomed by National Road Carriers Association (NRC), which represents 1,800 road transport companies collectively operating 16,000 trucks throughout New Zealand.
"It's great to see roading back on the Government's agenda after two years of delays," said NRC chief executive David Aitken.
"However, it is very disappointing the East-West Link is not included given it is a top priority in the Auckland Plan and we understand the Government had allocated $800 million in Auckland Transport Alignment Project (ATAP) for this very important project.
"If we are to keep NZ Inc. moving, the Government needs to think about freight and how it's moved. Not only would the East-West Link provide connectivity between State Highway 1 and State Highway 20, but it would also be a key freight link into Auckland's major industrial area and the Southdown rail freight terminal. Rail alone will not solve the issues the freight sector is facing."
Mr Aitken said the many infrastructure projects on the country's development agenda including hospitals, schools and billion-dollar-plus developments including the Auckland Airport, Convention Centre and Auckland's Central Interceptor wastewater project will need trucks to assist the building.
"Not one of the announced projects will be able to rely on rail to deliver the necessary supplies. Trucks will be required so we need good roading infrastructure.
"We're not against spending on upgrading rail infrastructure but rail is not going to replace trucks. Rail will complement trucks given the growing freight requirement. All modes need to be improved.
"Roading has been an afterthought for the last two years, not only new roads but the maintenance of our current roads as evidenced by the huge response to our Facebook appeal last year asking members for examples of poor roading.
"The consensus among our trucking company members is that New Zealand roads have been deteriorating due to lack of proper maintenance in recent years and need urgent attention."
Mr Aitken said another issue the industry will face as infrastructure projects ramp-up is a driver shortage. "We already have a driver shortage. More needs to be done to attract drivers to get these projects built.
"Despite the announcement being well overdue and the East-West Link not getting back on to the agenda, let's now get on and start building these roads, hopefully without the usual delays," said Mr Aitken.