Bay News column

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Thursday, July 2, 2015

Last Thursday the Prime Minister and I were in Rotorua to announce a $333 million cycleways investment. The programme is the largest investment ever made in cycling in this country. It is made up of 41 projects across 15 centres - from Whangarei to Dunedin. These will add significant value to the tourism sector but also create positive health and recreation outcomes.

Funding is pulled together from the Government’s Urban Cycleways Fund, the National Land Transport Fund and local government. It a clever model that means projects can be fast-tracked and completed far sooner than otherwise.

In total, cycling projects in Tauranga are receiving $14.6 million. The Government is contributing $2.3 million from the Urban Cycleways Fund to connect the existing cycle network and complete the missing links, and $1.5 million for the 16km Omokoroa to Tauranga cycleway. Without this investment these projects would have been years away, or may not have happened at all.

The current Tauranga cycle network comprises 10 commuter routes totalling 150 kilometres. This new projects add an additional 60 kilometres of cycleways that will link residential areas to commercial zones, schools and workplaces, encouraging more people to leave the car at home and get on their bike. On top of the health benefits, more people on bikes mean fewer cars on the road - reducing pollution and congestion.

The Omokoroa to Tauranga cycleway has had massive community support. This route will provide a safer alternative transport choice to the busy State highway corridor. It is expected to attract between 130 and 200 commuter cyclists a day, and an even higher number of recreational users.

These projects are due to be completed by mid-2018. I’m looking forward to getting out there with the family and making the most of these new routes.

Hope to see you out there too!