Media release: SDC receives $6.9m more road funding from Waka Kotahi

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Southland District Council has received an extra $6.9 million funding for road network improvements from Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency in final approvals announced this week.

SDC had applied in December 2020 to the funding agency for a total of $99.7 million required over the first three years of a 10-year programme of road rehabilitations, bridge replacements and footpath renewals. However, it received approximately $14.3 million less than this amount ($85.4 million) when indicative funding levels were announced in early June 2021, requiring a rapid reworking of Council’s roading programme and budgets for the 2021-2031 Long Term Plan, which was adopted at the end of that month.

This week’s revised allocation for continuous programmes (maintenance and renewals) over the next three years totals $92.3 million, reducing the shortfall to $7.4 million.

Council’s strategic manager transport Hartley Hare said the extra funding was a good result, although it was too soon to provide details of how this would be distributed across respective work areas, and when the work could be carried out.

“It’s fantastic news. It does change the landscape,” he said. “We’ve closed the gap. We’re grateful Waka Kotahi and the government have recognised that investment is required in these key assets, which are the lifeblood of Southland.

“We now have to go back and reprioritise our works programme, taking into account the extra funding secured.”

It was unlikely that the full value of the extra funding would be seen in the next six months, he said, as the road construction season starts in October and procurement was already under way based on projects identified at the time of the Long Term Plan being adopted. “We’ve missed the boat for this year for some of the work requiring more technical input.”

Mr Hare said there was still a long way to go to get funding up to a level that would meet the renewal and maintenance needs of the district roading network, but “it’s a step in the right direction. It will make a difference to local communities”.

SDC chief executive Cameron McIntosh said: “We welcome the extra funding and, while recognising Waka Kotahi’s challenges, it is important our local roads and bridges are supported as they are our district’s lifeline.”

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