About $190 million will be budgeted to improve roading infrastructure in Te Ngae and Ngongotahā if National gets into government, Rotorua MP Todd McClay has announced.
McClay and National's Transport spokesman Chris Bishop met business leaders in Rotorua today at Rotorua Forest Haulage to make the announcement.
Four-laning Te Ngae Rd to the airport and State Highway 5 towards Ngongotahā, as well as improvements to the Ngongotahā roundabout, were promised.
The work would start the day after the election if National was voted in, McClay said.
Planning would also begin for upgrades and "straightening" of the Tauranga Direct Rd, SH36, and SH33 between Rotorua and Tauranga.
Funding would come from National's $31 billion transport infrastructure investment package.
McClay told the Rotorua Daily Post roading infrastructure was vital for the city's economic development and growth.
Additional roading out east would allow for further housing development, while improvements on arterial roads between Rotorua and Tauranga would create more fluid movement of trucks to the port, he said.
"We need this development to get out of the economic hole we are in."
He said they were looking at a long-term approach, which was something he believed the current Government was not doing with its projects.
It comes on the back of the Government's latest announcement to begin safety improvements on Rotorua's State Highway 5 and the Ngongotahā roundabout.
McClay said, in his view, those works were "not future-proofed" and would only last a few years.
McClay had been campaigning for changes to Ngongotahā roading for years and when asked why he had not been able to deliver before, he said he promised to get a shovel in the ground "the day after the election" if voted in.
Rotorua Chamber of Commerce chief executive Bryce Heard said Ngongotahā improvements were "long overdue" as congestion had got to levels not seen before.
He said the projects sounded positive and the Chamber was especially interested in the promise of housing expansion out east.
Bishop said housing and roading infrastructure were interconnected and the changes would make all the difference.
McClay said in the meeting many Aucklanders would be making the move to Bay of Plenty in the coming years as this was common on the back of an economic crisis.
He said expansion was vital to weather that population increase.
Professionals McDowell Real Estate co-owner Steve Lovegrove said "something had to happen" as housing inquiries from Aucklanders were already rolling in.
He had bookings this weekend with interested Auckland buyers.
Other business leaders in the trucking industry mentioned how important road straightening towards the port was. One suggested a viaduct be built off the Tauranga Direct Rd.
Trucks needing to slow down or getting caught in congestion on Rotorua's east and west entrances was bad for business.
Some questioned why National had not delivered the projects before and if they were simply solving current problems that would get worse in the years it took the projects to be done.
McClay said they planned to repeal the Resource Management Act and start again to ensure projects could be streamlined through.
The current Government's transport infrastructure plan includes road safety improvements, investing in shovel-ready transport projects like cycleways, and changes to the Resource Management Act.
Green Party transport spokeswoman Julie Anne Genter said, in response to McClay's comments, "median barriers, rumble strips and extra roundabout lanes all have a good lifespan – the only thing that isn't future-proofed is National's transport plans".
She said this was a "once-in-a-generation opportunity to solve climate change" while creating more vibrant, attractive places to live that are easy to get around.
"Anyone promising to splash multi-billions of dollars on a few extra car lanes is promising to continue the cycle of car dependency.
"They are promising traffic congestion for decades to come."