A lack of funding from the New Zealand Transport Agency has forced Whanganui District Council to rethink some of its roading projects.
A report to council's Infrastructure Committee shows the NZTA's National Land Transport Programme is under extreme pressure at a national level, and that some of Whanganui's funding application would be knocked back as a result.
Projects the agency deemed "unlikely to approve" are the Bridge 15 (Erni's) Kauarapaoa road renewal, the Aramoho Railway Bridge shared pathway renewal, and the Heads Rd, Beach Rd and Prince St intersection improvements.
The report also notes the agency's Enhanced Funding Assistance Rate (TEFAR) was opened to councils late last year, but has now been effectively disestablished.
In January Whanganui District Council applied for four tiers of funding through TEFAR to the value of just over $1 million.
The funding would've covered improvements to walking, cycling, intersections, and overall road safety, which were separate to the "unlikely to approve" projects.
At Tuesday's Infrastructure Committee Meeting senior roading engineer Brent Holmes said he was surprised by NZTA's funding cuts.
"It goes against the grain of their key mandate to promote walking and cycling.
"I don't think there's any intention to drop these projects out because they don't feel they're important, they simply have got a funding gap."
Councillor Helen Craig asked why some other priorities are being met while Whanganui's priorities aren't.
"All I can say is a billion dollars has dropped out of roading but a billion dollars has surfaced for KiwiRail, what conclusions you draw from that are your own," Holmes said.
Committee chairman Alan Taylor wanted to know if there was a sense of resolution if councils in the region came together to make representations to NZTA.
"Every council is affected by this but the whole point of lobbying NZTA is you don't go to the minister because there's an entirely different body and governance board, the reality is it's very, very difficult," mayor Hamish McDouall said.
"The second reality is compared to Bridge 15, there are other projects that haven't been funded that would be of much greater value to Whanganui.
"If I'm going to spend my time lobbying for one of those projects, it'll be the Ōtaki to north of Levin expressway, that's transformative for Whanganui."
McDouall said it's a project all the region's mayors support, but that Whanganui District Council's plea would be lost in the shuffle if the country's 68 territorial authorities all took their own projects to NZTA.
Councillor Helen Craig said NZTA's decision didn't make much sense.
"We have the cycle bridge clip-on, we're talking about encouraging people and families to cycle and walk more, and there will be huge uproar in the community should we not be able to keep that open at a reasonable cost.
"These to me are critical, they're not the huge hits like the motorway out of Wellington, but for the man on the street these little projects are not so little."
After the meeting Holmes said it's expected council will apply for national prioritisation and funding of the projects again in the 2022-24 funding round.
"The council's roading team is monitoring and inspecting Bridge 15 regularly while we investigate supplementary funding options for the council to consider.
"The Aramoho Bridge walkway is capable of remaining in service for several years yet with minor maintenance to hold it over."
The Heads Rd, Beach Rd and Prince St intersection improvements are deemed low priority which council will not fund in full.