Study shows need for rail investment

A new study shows the rail network generates $1.5b a year of benefits to New Zealand through reduced congestion, fewer road accidents, lower road maintenance expenses, and less greenhouse emissions, says Minister of Transport Phil Twyford.

“This study underlines the reasons for the Labour-led Government’s plans to boost investment in rail – both in our cities and in the regions.

“Rail is a great way to travel and move cargo. It takes both passengers and freight off the roads, improving the travel experience of road users and reducing their costs.

“For too long, rail has been on life support – starved of government funding. The Labour-led Government will restore balance to transport funding, boosting investment in rail infrastructure both for passengers and freight.

“This will include significant investment in regional rail via the Regional Development Fund, as set out in the Labour-New Zealand First coalition agreement.

”The establishment of a light rail network in Auckland will significantly increase the $1.3b a year of benefits that road users, including freight companies, experience from reduced congestion.

The EY report was commissioned by NZTA and KiwiRail in 2016 but wasn’t released by the past government.

“National needs to explain why they sat on this important report for nearly a year. It’s as if they didn’t want to acknowledge the benefits of investing in rail.

“National’s ideological bias against rail, in favour of low-value projects like their $2b East-West Link plan, has cost New Zealand through congestion, pollution, road damage, and traffic accidents. The Labour-led Government will not repeat that mistake.

“I thank EY, NZTA, and KiwiRail for this important contribution to the debate on the future of transport in New Zealand,” says Phil Twyford.