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Government transport investment continues

Hon Gerry Brownlee

Minister of Transport

24 May 2012

Government transport investment continues

KiwiRail will receive $250 million of capital in 2012/13 for its Turnaround Plan to help the rail freight business become sustainable, Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee says.

The Budget 2012 appropriation is the final round of a three-year $750 million Government funding package supporting the objectives of KiwiRail’s Turnaround Plan.

“The plan is designed to help the rail freight business become sustainable by 2020 so it can fund its business solely from customer revenue.

“While the lion’s share of the investment is coming from the business itself, Government funding over three years demonstates our commitment to improving the rail freight network by providing capital investment to kick-start the growth process,” Mr Brownlee says.

KiwiRail has successfully undertaken a significant investment programme over the previous two years, including:

· New locomotives and wagons, and refurbishment of the current locomotive fleet.

· Renewals and upgrades of the rail network to improve transit times, remove capacity constraints, and improve reliability.

· The Aratere Cook Strait ferry extension – creating 30 per cent more capacity for rail and trucks, and improving passenger facilities.

“Most of the Government funding will be spent on KiwiRail’s freight services and network improvements, contributing to the ongoing investment in locomotives and wagons, infrastructure upgrades and track renewals. This will continue to remove capacity constraints and improve reliability,” Mr Brownlee says.

“Some progress has been made in increasing freight revenue and volume on rail corridors where investment has been made.”

The Government has also provided an additional $3.7 million in operating spending for the 2012/13 financial year for the SuperGold Card off-peak public transport scheme.

This brings total government operating funding of the scheme to $21.7 million for the 2012/13 financial year.

“The off-peak public transport concession has developed into a much-valued part of the SuperGold Card scheme and is making a significant contribution to providing improved mobility for older people,” Mr Brownlee says.

“This extra funding will help the scheme keep up with growing demand over the next 12 months.”

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