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Budget 2007: Towards a sustainable rail network

Hon Dr Michael Cullen
Minister of Finance
Hon Annette King
Minister of Transport


Towards a sustainable rail network

Budget 2007 is funding significant improvements to the Auckland and Wellington rail passenger networks as part of the Labour-led government's drive to put the economy on a sustainable footing.

"A world-class transport network is vital to meet our economic and environmental challenges and that's why Budget 2007 makes additional investment in the rail network a priority," said Finance Minister Michael Cullen and Transport Minister Annette King

"We are supporting the electrification of Auckland’s urban passenger network, and will provide funding for the necessary infrastructure assisted by revenue from a regional fuel tax.

“The whole project will cost more than $1 billion, with the Auckland Regional Council being responsible for funding the electric trains. The council will be able to access funding for the project from the proposed regional fuel tax, and the government will raise infrastructure bonds to pay its share with the fuel tax servicing the interest costs.

“The aim is to have electrification completed by 2013. The government has investigated the possibility of having electric trains up and running for the Rugby World Cup in 2011, but this would be too risky and costly in terms of sourcing material for electrifying the system and buying rolling stock. To ensure there is a well-functioning public transport system in place in 2011, ARTA (Auckland Regional Transport Authority) will need to purchase additional interim carriage trains.

“We need to get electrification right for a first-class public transport network in Auckland. With trains moving at around 10 minute frequencies, electrification will mean faster, more reliable, cleaner, more comfortable and quieter services.”

For Wellington commuters, the government is also providing new funding to replace worn out infrastructure, extend double tracking to Waikanae, and for enlarging tunnels on the Johnsonville line.

Budget 2007 provides $600 million over six years for the government’s contribution to these urban rail development projects in Auckland and Wellington. It also provides an additional $50 million for general track improvements to the national rail network over 2008 to 2010.

Dr Cullen said Budget 2004 provided $100 million for national track improvements. “We are now committing another $25 million in both 2008/09 and 2009/10 to ensure rail remains a major transport option both complementing and competing with roading.”

"The latest investment builds on the considerable investment the Labour-led government has made in building a world-class transport network.

"We bought the rail tracks back into public ownership, increased investment in public transport ten fold and are investing over $2 billion every year on the biggest road building programme in this country's history."

ENDS

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