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$1,100 Million National Land Transport Programme

Transfund Unveils $1,100 Million National Land Transport Programme

Transfund New Zealand announced today it is allocating $1,100 million for land transport infrastructure and services in this year’s National Land Transport Programme (NLTP). This is a significant increase of $150 million over the previous year, and incorporates additional funding to advance the land transport expenditure priorities determined by the government in February 2002.

The 2002/03 National Land Transport Programme includes allocations for roading maintenance ($553.34 million), road construction projects ($348.58 million), passenger transport ($85 million), alternatives to roading ($29 million), regional development ($26.67 million), and promotion of walking and cycling ($3.67 million).

Transfund Chairman Michael Gross described the 2002/03 NLTP as a balanced programme. “There is a balance between roading, passenger transport and other non-roading modes; between congestion relief, safety and supporting economic development in key regions, while still properly maintaining existing transport infrastructure; a balance between the main regions; and a balance between short and medium term needs,” said Mr Gross.

The 2002/03 allocation for road maintenance represents half of the total NLTP expenditure, and is an increase of $36.2 million over the previous year to meet increased demands of both heavy and light traffic volumes, especially in those regions affected by forestry-related traffic.

Extra funding is also allocated for a road construction programme that includes new roading projects in the three main urban centres plus Tauranga. The programme foreshadows a significant level of roading construction expenditure in the Auckland region over the medium term, in keeping with the government’s high priority for congestion relief projects. Projects for which funding has been earmarked and that are expected to commence (subject to final funding consideration and approval) during the year include:

- the Central Motorway Junction and Upper Harbour Corridor in Auckland;

- the widening of SH1 between Plimmerton and Mana, and the realignment of SH2 between Kaitoke and Te Marua in Wellington;

- the four-laning of the Main North Road in Christchurch;

- improvements to the Hewletts Road/Maunganui Road intersection in Tauranga.

Transfund has also allocated funding for further investigation and design of Auckland motorway projects that are scheduled for construction in future years.

Continued funding has also been committed to a number of high profile projects from the previous year, including the $68 million Grafton Gully extension in Auckland (which will connect the Southern Motorway with the Port of Auckland) and the reconstruction SH6A from Frankton to Queenstown

“Not only does Auckland continue to receive the greatest amount of NLTP funding of any region,” said Mr Gross, “but this year’s NLTP is the start of a lift in expenditure over the medium term on projects designed to address Auckland's traffic congestion. Approximately 30 percent of Transfund’s national allocation for the year - $320 million - is earmarked for road maintenance, road construction and passenger transport in the Auckland region, and this figure is expected to rise in future years as more large projects come on stream.”

As well as increasing expenditure priority towards congestion-relief projects, this year’s NLTP retains a focus on improving safety. For example, Transfund is continuing funding in 2002/03 for the four-laning of Mercer to Longswamp in the Waikato (to reduce the number and severity of crashes).

An all time high in the proportion and amount of funding available for non-roading options such as passenger transport and the promotion of walking and cycling is also a highlight of the 2002/03 NLTP.

Passenger transport funding has increased to $85 million (double the funding spent in the 1999/2000 year) as a result of the successful uptake of the patronage funding scheme for passenger transport and the patronage growth that has been achieved around the country. The scheme, introduced in November 2000, is designed to increase patronage through new services that will meet the needs of users and ease traffic congestion at the times and places of greatest need. Patronage growth around the country has averaged 12 percent since the scheme’s introduction, with growth highest in Auckland and Christchurch.

Further initiatives to grow patronage during 2002/03 include improved bus services in many urban centres; improved ticketing systems in Christchurch and Tauranga; and the trial of real time passenger information on Auckland City bus routes.

An increased allocation for alternatives to roading projects ($29 million during 2002/03, up from $8 million the previous year) includes an on-going commitment to complete the Britomart Interchange in Auckland. Other projects contained on a list of possible candidates for funding during the year include the development of a rail spur line to the Clandeboye Dairy Factory near Temuka; alternative rail access for freight at Edendale in Southland; further investigation of the Marsden Point Rail link project in Northland; and financial contributions to several projects designed to improve the Auckland region’s rail and broader passenger transport network. At this stage these projects are indicative only, and will undergo further assessment when more detailed funding applications are submitted to Transfund.

Transfund has received applications from the Northland, Eastern Bay of Plenty and Gisborne and Hawke’s Bay (Tairawhiti) regions, for funding from the new regional development output group ($26.67 million), established for those regions where improved transport infrastructure is required as part of a total package to support regional development. The government has indicated that Northland and Tairawhiti are the two initial priority regions for regional development funding. Both regions have already prepared integrated transportation plans designed to identify priorities for land transport infrastructure improvements required to support increased freight traffic, and Transfund is working with those regions to determine how the regional development funding is best applied.

The allocation of $3.7 million for the promotion of walking and cycling will enable key strategy studies to be undertaken, along with the possible construction of cycle ways and pedestrian facilities in regions such as Christchurch, Dunedin, Nelson, Wellington and Tauranga.

“This year’s programme is also the first Transfund has developed under its new funding allocation framework, and was developed to give effect to the government’s new land transport policies and priorities,” said Mr Gross.

“It also represents the first year of a medium term programme of investments that will be required across a number of fronts. Although it cannot accommodate all needs, it is a big step towards addressing some of the pressing needs in New Zealand’s land transport system”, he said.

ENDS

Notes:

i. The NLTP is the National Roading Programme as approved by the Transfund Board pursuant to the Transit New Zealand Act 1989.

ii. The NLTP is the national budget for the construction and maintenance of New Zealand’s road network, the provision of publicly funded passenger transport services, alternatives to roading, regional development and the promotion of walking and cycling. Transfund, a Crown entity, is responsible for investing road user funds to achieve an affordable, integrated, safe, responsive and sustainable land transport system for New Zealand. It provides for Transfund’s and Transit’s administrative costs and contributes to local authorities’ administration costs related to roading and public transport. It also funds research and industry training.

iii. In producing this year’s NLTP, Transfund has introduced a new funding allocation framework that incorporates the government’s new expenditure priorities and includes new allocations for regional development and promotion of walking and cycling. Under the new framework the benefit: cost ratio (BCR) is no longer the sole criterion for determining a project's relative priority. Other factors, such as the priority placed on the project by the region, are now being taken into account. A further change in the NLTP for 2002/03 is that for both State highways construction and local roads construction outputs, projects are either shown on “indicative’ priority or “reserve’ lists, which can be updated to take into account changes and developments that may arise during the year. Where projects on the indicative priority list can not begin in the 2002/03 year, Transfund will consider whether or not to fund a reserve list project.

iv. While most allocations to road controlling authorities are decided and announced annually prior to the commencement of each financial year on July 1, Transfund manages the NLTP as an ongoing, dynamic programme. Approvals are made on a rolling basis throughout the year as funding applications are considered at monthly programme reviews. For this reason the actual amount funded over a year is likely to be above the minimum funding detailed above.

v. All project costs are total costs (excluding GST) but include Transfund’s allocation and, where applicable, funding by the relevant local authority.

Details on the NLTP allocations to regions are included in the accompanying material and are available on the Transfund website: www.transfund.govt.nz


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