About $20 million in road upgrades and safety improvements are forced to hold as reports of co-funding from NZTA have not been confirmed.
Tauranga City Council chief executive Marty Grenfell was instructed by council to stop awarding any new contracts for transportation upgrades and safety projects unless there was confirmed partnership funding from the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) at the expected funding assistance rate.
This followed a report to the Urban Form and Transport Development Committee yesterday which outlined confirmation of the NZTA co-funding share for a number of transport projects scheduled for this financial year had not been received.
NZTA provides funding assistance for local transportation projects focussed on safety improvements, public transport, and walking and cycling.
Tauranga mayor Greg Brownless said NZTA had, as a government agency, always co-funded the work but were now slow to respond and said they did not seem as though they could make a decision.
"We're a growing city...we need to keep on top of our roadworks," Brownless said.
"We have been forced to stop awarding contracts, otherwise we would put the ratepayer at risk of incurring costs for projects that should rightfully be co-funded by the Government."
He said "safety" was a buzzword in the government at the moment and it was not fair to force people to pay more for something they had already paid for in taxes.
"If anyone was putting people's safety at risk, it was the NZTA," he said.
Brownless said this was a national issue and other local authorities were experiencing the same frustrations.
"We recognise that this will result in much-needed transportation projects being deferred and we are looking to NZTA to take urgent steps to address the situation."
Brownless said the community had paid fuel and other taxes which the NZTA utilised to fund this expenditure and said accessing the funding was difficult.
The projects in question were predominantly upgrades and safety improvements over $1 million in value. Maintenance of the network in its current form would continue.
Brownless said there was about $20 million of scheduled work for this financial year, half of which the council would pay for as co-funding.
Grenfell was asked by the council to engage with NZTA to look at the available options and steps forward.
Grenfell would report back to the council within two weeks.