Cabinet has approved a new 10-year plan for transport that 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.
However, the investment will come at a cost to motorists, as to fund the infrastructure, there will be increases in petrol excise duty 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,” said Twyford. “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.”
Twyford said the Government, through the National Land Transport Fund, would invest more than ever in transport, to boost the economies of New Zealand’s cities and regions, while making travel safer.
“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.”
Twyford said that throughout New Zealand more commuters would 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.”
Twyford said the NZ Transport Agency would 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 percent 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.”