The future of a programme which aims to improve and upgrade Hastings' rural road network will be reviewed when funding from New Zealand Transport Agency has been confirmed in August this year.
Hastings District Council has been under pressure to continue a scheme which aimed to seal 20km of rural road each year but a NZTA subsidy for the work had been cut, and so the programme stopped, leaving 346km of rural road unsealed.
Ratepayers of Waihau and Patoka asked the council to find a way to seal 4.4km of Waihau Rd and about 600m on a steep section of Price Cockburn Rd, despite the scheme not appearing in the budget for the next three years.
Their submission to the council said the work would improve safety on the road, prevent crashes, increase visibility by reducing dust and allow cars to pass each other without having to pull off the road.
"Waihau Rd and Price Cockburn Rd are the alternative routes on the occasions that snow prevents traffic on Hawkston and Puketitiri Rds," read the submission.
"An improved carriageway, road markers and seal will assist safe passage of essential vehicles like the school bus and milk tankers."
After hearing the ratepayers, the council decided it would review the matter at a transportation workshop when the next three-year funding round from NZTA was approved.
The council's rural community board reported that repairs to rural roads caused by annual flood damage had also put pressure on the road budget, coupled with funding cuts to road maintenance from NZTA.
It suggested the safety issues raised by submitters to the long term plan be addressed "within council's safety budgets".
The board also noted the impact on people living in rural areas where roads were on the books to be upgraded just before funding changes were made, leading to the seal extension programme being put on hold.
Other councils were also planning for budget cuts to roading programmes, an issue the Labour party had decided to campaign on recently.
The party's transport spokesman, Phil Twford said it was not fair that Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee ask provincial ratepayers to fund the cuts it was making to local roads.
"Mr Brownlee has effectively given rural New Zealand a one-fingered salute by denying that there is any kind of problem with the cuts to local road maintenance," said Mr Twyford.
"Lawrence Yule of Local Government New Zealand said many councils are reducing road budgets because of the government cuts. Even Geoff Dangerfield of NZTA has acknowledged that, in some cases, road maintenance will be cut."
NZTA maintained its budget for Hastings would increase by 3 per cent.
But the Hastings District Council said the formula used by NZTA for the funding would provide less money for each project.