The Road Transport Forum considers the Government’s 2018 – 2021 National Land Transport Programme as a missed opportunity.
“While we welcome the expansion of the overall investment in the transport system, unfortunately the programme fails to progress a number of critical projects and is in many ways a continuation of the politicisation of the National Land Transport Fund by this Government,” says RTF chief executive Ken Shirley.
“Road user taxes – fuel excise, road user charges, and vehicle registrations – are being diverted to pet political projects of dubious economic merit, while crucial roading projects are postponed indefinitely. This kind of cross-subsidisation will lead to economic distortions across the transport market.”
Shirley says the road transport industry is concerned that major highway projects such as an East-West Link alternative, Tauranga to Katikati and Otaki to Levin are not going ahead, saying these projects were important for the free flow of freight around the country and would significantly improve the safety of key routes.
“On the bright side, it is good to see projects such as the Mt Messenger Bypass and the Manawatu Gorge replacement route receive the necessary funding.”
The Government’s increased focus on road safety is welcomed and the road transport industry will continue to support modal separation, median barriers and the development of other infrastructure to help improve the overall safety of our roads.
“It’s just a shame that the Government has had a bob each way on safety because one of the biggest contributions to safety comes through the development of new highways that are designed specifically to separate traffic and provide safe connectivity between communities.”
“It is particularly disappointing that the Tauranga to Katikati motorway has not progressed. The road is experiencing ever-increasing traffic volumes and is extremely dangerous. While the Government has earmarked some safety improvements the only real solution is a four-lane motorway with appropriately controlled access points and separation of opposing traffic,” says Shirley.