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Full costs of transport revealed

31 March 2005 Media Statement

Full costs of transport revealed

The true cost of the road and rail system is spelled out in a report published today by the Ministry of Transport says Transport Minister Pete Hodgson.

The report of the Surface Transport Costs and Charges Study looked at the total charges paid by users of New Zealand's road and rail system and the costs that arise from them in 2001/02. The report, designed to help inform policy development, is the first in a series and will be updated annually.

The main findings of the study are:

- That the charges paid by road and rail users do not cover the costs of those networks, and that some costs are not paid by anyone at all
- Rail users pay a higher proportion of their costs than road users
- Users of urban local roads pay a lower proportion of costs than users of rural roads, and
- That in many cases the costs of remedying a problem (eg congestion) are much lower than the cost of the problem itself.

The report also identifies money paid from the Crown Account to cover costs generated by the transport system. In 2001/02, $546.7 million of fuel duty was paid into the Crown Account, while $670 million was paid from it to cover the cost of accidents not covered by ACC, and $442 million to cover the health effects of vehicle emissions. In other words, roughly half these costs are paid for by motorists, while the other half of the bill is footed by the taxpayer.

"This government is committed to a safer and more efficient transport system with lower health and environmental impacts. This world-leading report will help guide policy development to that end."

The report is available on

Notes to editors

Charges paid through: registration, Road user charges and fuel excise duty Costs met
To items now
covered by the NLTF $1,245
$1,245 From the NLTF equivalent
To ACC $ 424 $ 445 By ACC
To the Crown Account $546.7 $1.112 From the Crown Account
Total paid in $2,215.7 $2,802 Total paid out

Figures in $ million for 2001/02


Money paid out from the Crown Account comprises:

Non-ACC costs of vehicle accidents $670 million
Health effects of vehicle emissions $442 million

The following costs are not covered:

Climate change
Loss of water quality

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