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Labour moving transport forward

30 August 2005

Labour moving transport forward

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Transport Minister Pete Hodgson said today that Labour is committed to very large investments in New Zealand's land transport system, including taking over responsibility, through Ontrack, for upgrading of Auckland's rail track in order to speed up the project.

"Labour recognises the need for Auckland to have high quality rail infrastructure capable of supporting both commuter and freight operations. This is important for the region and all of New Zealand," Helen Clark said.

"In our third term, Ontrack will take responsibility for completing work on double tracking on the western rail corridor, alongside other improvements. This move will also result in the region taking over responsibility for rolling stock, stations and interchanges.

"This is another initiative in the biggest ever investment in land transport in New Zealand ever. Since we came into government, land transport spending is up nearly ninety per cent. We are investing $22.3 billion over the next 10 years in land transport

"Not only are we investing in new roads, but across New Zealand, government spending on passenger transport is up more than six fold in the past six years, from $40 million to $250 million," Helen Clark said.

Transport Minister Pete Hodgson said that in its third term, the Labour-led government will: § Continue to invest in road building to make up for the neglect of the 1990s, including regional funding to ensure all regions receive increased investment. § Continue to address congestion in our cities. § Increase funding for public transport. § Support the introduction of smart technology for bus users, including real-time information displays, and time of arrival texting. § Progress the development of integrated ticketing, timetabling and marketing, between and across all public transport modes. § Invest at least $200 million in the rail network: $100 million for network enhancements and $100 million on repairs and replacements.

"Labour is committed to developing a sustainable transport system which is safe, affordable, responsive to the needs of users, and which contributes to New Zealand's economic development, as well as social and environmental goals.

"Achieving those goals depends on having a strong, integrated transport sector and good infrastructure. It requires significant investment, and Labour is providing more than ever before.

"We are also allowing regions to develop other funding mechanisms, such as tolling, if required and if consented to by the affected communities. We are also open to other options, such as the issuing of bonds, if a robust case can be presented.

"Labour appreciates the need for co-operation between the public and private sectors and will strengthen the partnership between local and central government to achieve a sustainable transport system.

"We will also continue to ensure the equitable distribution of transport funding across the country via the allocation of national and regional money for land transport projects," Pete Hodgson said.

ENDS

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