The NZ Transport Agency Board has approved funding for the construction of the Rangiriri and Tamahere-Cambridge sections of the Waikato Expressway.
NZTA Chief Executive Geoff Dangerfield said approval of funding for the projects means that construction on both can get underway next year, and the NZTA will remain on track to complete the full length of the Waikato Expressway by 2019.
"This is great news for the Waikato and for New Zealand. The Waikato Expressway will reduce travel times between Auckland and Tirau by about 30 minutes, it will significantly reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries from crashes, it will increase the highway's capacity, and it will reduce fuel costs and make a major contribution to economic growth," Mr Dangerfield said.
The 4.4km Rangiriri section of the expressway will connect to the Longswamp section to the north, connecting to the already completed Ohinewai section.
The 16km Tamahere-Cambridge section is the southernmost part of the Waikato Expressway, beginning 11 km south of the Hamilton CBD and ending approximately 2.5km south of Cambridge.
Mr Dangerfield said the certainty provided by the Government's decision to increase petrol excise duty and road user charges (RUC) had allowed the NZTA Board to approve construction funding for the projects last week.
"The certainty that this guaranteed funding stream provides means we can proceed with confidence in developing and delivering these and other major projects which will enable economic growth and provide safer journeys for New Zealanders."
Mr Dangerfield said the additional revenue generated by the FED and RUC increases would also allow the NZTA to confirm funding next year and begin construction in 2013/14 on the Mackays to Peka Peka section of the Wellington Northern Corridor and the four-laning of the Groynes to Sawyers Arms (Johns Road) section of the Western Corridor in Christchurch, subject to the granting of regulatory consents for both projects.