Less money is being spent on Bay of Plenty roads in the three-year period to June this year than in the previous three-year cycle, according to official projections.
In the 2009 to 2012 expenditure cycle, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) spent $483.68 million on the region's local roads and highways, while councils contributed $83.6 million.
The projected spend to June 30, 2015 - including the actual spend up to June 2014 - was $456.87 million by NZTA and $85.35 million by councils.
NZTA Waikato/Bay of Plenty regional director Harry Wilson said the priority had to be on roads which would help New Zealand grow.
"Generally, Bay of Plenty does very well because transporting to and from the Bay is key to our export economy," he said.
"But unfortunately, roading is a bit like getting Christmas presents. You often get 90 per cent of what you want but you never quite get everything.
"It doesn't mean you'll never get that thing you missed out on, you might just have to wait a bit longer to get it."
Bay of Plenty Regional Council transport policy manager Garry Maloney said comparing the 2012-15 regional programme to the plan for the next three years would suggest progress was being made in the Bay.
Regional transport committees and councils across the country were devising their wishlists for the next funding cycle.
Mr Maloney said he would like efficient freight access maintained to the Port of Tauranga and reliable travel times, particularly on key routes within and around the Tauranga urban area.
He also hoped safety improvements would be made on high risk state highway routes as well as intersections and urban cycleways.
Transport Minister Simon Bridges said several factors determined which regions received improvements or investments.
"In general, improvements occur where the pressure on our transport network is greatest, which tends to be around areas with increasing populations," he said.
Between 2015/16 and 2017/18, up to $1.74 billion would be available from the central government for local road maintenance, however.
"This compares to a maximum of $1.65 billion between 2012/13 and 2014/15 under the Government Policy Statement [GPS] on land transport for 2012," Mr Bridges said.
The 2015 GPS included funding for a new "regional improvements activity class", which would ensure funding was available outside of major metropolitan areas, he said.
An additional $212 million in an "accelerated regional roading package" would speed up state highway projects identified as vital to a number of regions around the country, he said.
"GPS 2015 represents the largest transport improvement programme in our history, continuing investment in local roads and providing for important regional projects through the new regional improvements activity class.
"The key factor for the Government is ensuring New Zealand's roads are fit for purpose, and I believe initiatives like the new 'one network road classification' system will help ensure the right investments are made in the right places, at the right times."
The "one network road classification" categorised roads based on the functions they performed as part of an integrated national network.NZME.