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Land Transport Management Bill Introduced

Land Transport Management Bill Introduced

“The bill proposes the biggest overhaul of land transport funding since the current system was introduced in the late 1980s,” said Mr Swain. “It will allow for more long-term planning, introduce more flexible funding for transport projects in line with regional priorities and expand the objectives of Transit and Transfund.

“Transit NZ and Transfund NZ will focus on land transport as a whole, not just roads,” said Mr Swain. “This broader approach is in line with the New Zealand Transport Strategy, which was released today. To encourage long-term planning Transufnd and all organisations seeking funding from it will need to prepare 10-year financial forecasts.

“The bill allows for Public Private Partnerships (PPPs). PPPs are a funding mechanism, which give the private sector the opportunity to finance transport projects in partnership with the public sector. The aim is to secure funding for projects which might otherwise not get off the ground,” said Mr Swain. “PPPs are common overseas and have been particularly successful in Australia.

“PPPs will help New Zealand tackle its shortage of transport infrastructure, which could hold back economic growth if not addressed. They are also useful as a means of spreading costs when a number of high cost projects come on stream at one time.”

The bill places a number of conditions on PPPs including:

Partnership arrangements are limited to 35 years or less. Land transport infrastructure remains in public ownership. Initial acquisition of land, and designation of land for roading, remains with the public sector. The public sector is not liable to compensate any party if traffic numbers are below forecast for the life of the project. The project has a high degree of support from affected communities. The final proposal needs ministerial approval.

“PPPs will usually, but not always, involve tolls. The bill provides a generic framework for tolling projects, which until now have required a separate piece of legislation for each project.”

There are a number of criteria for toll roads including:

Toll roads must be new roads. An alternative route must be available. The tolling scheme must be consistent with government and regional transport strategies. The local community and road users must be consulted. The final proposal needs ministerial approval.

“Because they require high traffic volumes, there are unlikely to be a large number of tolling projects in New Zealand,” said Mr Swain. “Tolls may be collected electronically so the bill contains privacy protection provisions.”

“The Land Transport Management Bill will usher in fundamental changes to land transport funding in New Zealand,” said Mr Swain. ”The current short term, narrowly focussed approach to land transport funding is not working. If we are going to address our transport deficit we need to take a more creative approach. This bill does that.”

The bill will now be referred to a select committee for consideration. Legislation is expected to be passed in 2003.

For background information on the Land Transport Management Bill and an online copy of the bill go to - http://www.transport.govt.nz/current/lt-management-bill

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