Building a platform for the future of rail
The Government has released its long term vision for a sustainable 21st Century rail network that gets our cities moving, connects our regions and gets more freight off the roads.
Deputy Prime Minister and State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters said the Government is committed to rebuilding New Zealand’s rail network.
“After years of rail being run into the ground by the previous government, our Government is getting rail back on track. Since coming to office we have already allocated more than $2.8 billion in rail.
“We need our rail network to be able to cope with New Zealand’s growing freight needs. Freight is expected to increase by 55 per cent by 2042. Freight carried by rail not only reduces wear and tear on our roads, it reduces carbon emissions by 66 per cent.
“We have already begun investing in a national freight rail network with over $1 billion funding in this year’s Budget, $741 million of which is the first phase of restoring a reliable, resilient and safe freight and tourism network,” Mr Peters said.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford said rail is critical to New Zealand’s economy, and creates opportunities for regional development and employment. “Passenger rail is also the key to unlocking gridlock in our largest cities and boosting productivity. The more people take the train, the more our roads are freed up for those who have to drive.
“Passenger growth on the metropolitan rail networks in Auckland and Wellington has continued to outstrip expectations. Investment in rail is anticipated to more than double patronage in the Auckland metro network to more than 47 million trips a year by 2028.
“Building alternative transport options for people and freight is a vital part of achieving the Government’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050. It also helps make our roads safer by reducing the numbers of cars and trucks on our roads,” Phil Twyford said.
The Draft Rail Plan will enable a new long-term planning and funding system for rail. The Land Transport (Rail) Legislation Bill will have its first reading in Parliament next week and will enable the rail network to be funded through the National Land Transport Fund, with support of ongoing Crown funding. It also introduces track user charges.
Editor’s notes: The Draft Rail Plan will become final when the next Government Policy Statement of Land Transport is finalised in the second half of 2020.
The Draft Rail Plan can be found here: https://transport.cwp.govt.nz/rail/the-draft-new-zealand-rail-plan/
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