Transport emissions and the need for new funding and finance mechanisms for projects were some of the topics raised by the Bay of Plenty Regional Council Transport Committee in a meeting this week with Transport Minister Michael Wood.
Minister Wood was supposed to be visiting the region but in light of the recent COVID-19 outbreak met the committee, which includes regional mayors and councillors, online.
Committee Chair Lyall Thurston outlined the Committee’s 30 year regional transport vision of a transport system that is sustainable, resilient, efficient and meets the needs of a diverse growing community and regional economy.
Transport is responsible for 61% of greenhouse gas emissions in the Bay of Plenty and Chair Thurston said Minister Wood described climate change as being one of the biggest challenges that we will be judged on by future generations.
Chair Thurston says the Regional Transport Committee is currently working on how we will meet the Regional Land Transport Plan target of reducing transport sector carbon emissions by a minimum of 25% by 2030.
“The ongoing issues with traffic congestion in the Western Bay were also highlighted including the recent omission of funding in the National Land Transport Programme for the Omokoroa Interchange and the 4-laning of Stage Two between Te Puna and Omokoroa,” Chair Thurston says.
He said Minister Wood talked about the linking up of efficient freight networks which included coastal shipping and inter-regional rail.
“Minister Wood said we need to show courage and do things differently. Transport is an enabler to better housing, wellbeing and economic development.”
The Minister was invited to visit the region in person when COVID-19 Alert Levels allow.