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$1m funding, 10 new jobs

Of the $60 million funding announced by government yesterday, $1m will go towards Wairarapa road improvements, while further funding will help with regional railway lines. PHOTO/FILE

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It’s a drop in the ocean, but 10 new Wairarapa jobs will come from recently-announced funding from the Provincial Growth Fund for road and rail improvements across the country.

Yesterday, the government announced $60 million worth of funding for councils and KiwiRail to create new employment opportunities through road and rail improvements.

Wairarapa will receive $1m of this for tree removal and maintenance on high-risk roads across the region.

While Wairarapa Road Safety Council manager Bruce Pauling did not yet know which roads this funding would go towards, he said any extra funding was a welcomed boost.

“Road maintenance and improvement does suffer quite a bit, so any funding from NZTA to make roads more navigable or visible, especially with trees on our rural roads, is great.”

Unruly trees along roadsides can impede visibility or damage footpaths and road shoulders when the roots grow up, he said.

Pauling said it would also help the region with the economic recovery from covid-19.

“The sooner we can get the funding the sooner we can get that shovel-ready work started, both for road improvements and job creation.”

Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones said the purpose of the funding was to soften the impact on workers and businesses in some of the most affected areas, and in sectors where jobs have been lost and most in need of support.

“The local councils and KiwiRail projects are providing vital support to regional economies as the PGF refocuses on projects that will provide immediate jobs, can start immediately and have high visibility to boost public confidence in the economic recovery.”

It is also hoped that further jobs will be created through rail projects totalling $26m which will take place along rail lines from the Waikato to Wairarapa, and in Canterbury, West Coast and Otago-Southland and create about 200 jobs.

This includes drain and culvert condition surveys, culvert cleaning and maintenance, vegetation control, and drainage renewals and improvements which may start early next month.

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