Record transport investment to grow the economy and improve safety

Cabinet has approved a new 10-year plan for transport which will unlock record investment in the roads, rail and public transport for our growing regions and cities, and save lives on our roads, Minister of Transport Phil Twyford has announced.

The Government Policy Statement 2018 on Land Transport increases investment from $3.6 billion in 2017/18 to a record $4 billion in 2018/19. It will continue to rise to $4.7 billion a year by 2027/28. Additionally, the Government is also investing $1 billion this year in specific projects, such as the City Rail Link, and councils will invest a further $1 billion a year.

“The Government, through the National Land Transport Fund, will invest more than ever in transport, to boost the economies of our cities and our regions, while making travel safer for everyone,” Phil Twyford said.

“Auckland alone loses $1.3 billion a year in productivity to congestion. We will tackle gridlock in Auckland by giving commuters options through major road projects and upgrades such as Mill Road and Penlink.

“Throughout New Zealand more commuters will be able to leave the car at home because of investment in public transport, walking, and cycling.

“This investment will unleash the potential of our cities. It will complete the expressway projects begun under the previous government and allow for future state highway upgrades, with up to $9.5 billion for state highway improvements.

“Regions are set to gain through investments to help freight flow faster and more efficiently. Up to $6.2 billion will be available for regional road and local upgrades, along with more funding for rail upgrades and a big boost to maintenance after years of neglect. The majority of regional councils made submissions in support of this plan after suffering funding cuts under the previous government.

“The New Zealand Transport Agency will increase their share of costs for certain high and very high priority locally-led projects, meaning councils can get more transport investment without asking more of ratepayers.

“There is a new emphasis on safety, with a doubling of investment in road safety promotion and a 14 per cent increase in road policing to help reduce the number of deaths on our roads. This Government is not prepared to accept a growing number of road deaths.

“To fund the infrastructure for our cities and regions to thrive, and save lives, there will need to be increases in excises and charges. There will be three increases in Petrol Excise Duty of 3.5 cents a litre from 30 September, and equivalent increases in Road User Charges from 1 October, and further 3.5 cent increases in 2019 and 2020. This will cost the average family 83 cents a week this year, rising to $2.50 a week by 2020.

“The increased excise will fund $5 billion of investment over the next decade. If the Opposition intends to scrap this funding, they must explain which $5 billion worth of roads, public transport projects, and safety improvements they would cancel,” Phil Twyford said.

GPS 2018 can be found here: https://www.transport.govt.nz/multi-modal/keystrategiesandplans/gpsonlandtransportfunding/