Taranaki robbed on road issues - Little

"You've still got the Mt Messenger and Awakino Gorge issue."

LEIGHTON KEITH
Last updated 05:00 03/09/2012
tdn little stand
JONATHAN CAMERON
Andrew Little says the money won't solve problems at other areas on SH3 like Mt Messenger and the Awakino Gorge issue.

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The Taranaki community has a right to feel short-changed despite an almost $200 million investment to improve the region's roads, Labour MP Andrew Little says.

Mr Little, who contested New Plymouth MP Jonathan Young's seat in last year's election, was pleased the issues at Waiwhakaiho were going to be addressed but said the money wouldn't solve the problems further north along State Highway 3.

"That's a fraction of the total amount of work that needs to be done on SH3 north," he said.

"You've still got the Mt Messenger issue and the Awakino Gorge issue.

"Those are serious issues, too, that need to be addressed and there is nothing in there that talks about that."

During the last week the NZ Transport Agency pledged $199.5m for the region's roading network over the next three years.

This includes $165m for the maintenance and operation of the region's existing roads and $19m of regional funding.

An early estimate of $14m, from the regional funding, has been set aside to remedy New Plymouth's troublesome Waiwhakaiho bottleneck.

Regional Transport Committee chairman Roger Maxwell had also expressed concerns the investment did not include any significant funding for the upgrading of SH3.

"My current concern is that the current standard of the road is maintained and that is not guaranteed either," Mr Maxwell said.

Mr Little said the public had the right to be disappointed that issues further north on SH3 had not been addressed.

"I think in that three-year period, we were entitled to see that there would be some work done on these stretches of SH3 north, but there's nothing at all about that."

Mr Little said the region deserved better.

"Taranaki contributes a huge amount to the Crown accounts and I think it's not too much to ask that we get a little bit extra, particularly in terms of infrastructure."

He said there was still uncertainty about what would be done to ease congestion at Waiwhakaiho.

"I guess the thing is we don't quite know what work is actually going to be done," Mr Little said.

"If I was very cynical, I would say put a note in your diary for about a week before the next election for the ribbon cutting exercise."

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- Taranaki Daily News

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