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Transfund unveils $1.42b Land Transport Programme

Transfund unveils $1.42 billion National Land Transport Programme

Transfund New Zealand announced today it is allocating $1.42 billion for land transport infrastructure and services in this year's National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) in the first to be developed under the Land Transport Management Act 2003 (LTMA).

Transfund chair Dr Jan Wright says the Act has significantly changed the way in which Transfund develops its programme.

"Over the past two years marked changes have occurred in land transport policies and priorities. Transfund's role has widened from an organisation that funds a safe and efficient roading system to one that has a broader responsibility for ensuring land transport plays its full part in developing New Zealand economically, socially and environmentally.

A whole new allocation process has been developed to meet LTMA requirements to contribute to an integrated, safe, responsive and sustainable approach to transport in New Zealand," she says. At $1.42 billion, the funding allocated in this year's NLTP is 20 percent ($230 million) higher than last year and fifty percent higher compared with three years ago.

The 2004/05 NLTP includes allocations for roading maintenance works ($666 million), road construction projects ($492 million), passenger transport ($118 million), travel demand management, rail and barging ($53 million), regional development ($25 million), promotion of walking and cycling ($4 million), research ($4 million) and administration and project control ($58 million).

Dr Wright says a significant portion of this year's NLTP and in subsequent years is already committed expenditure, with commitments of over $1 billion.

"A year ago, the comparable figure was around $400 million. This huge increase is due to the approval of funding for several substantial passenger transport and roading projects, such as the refurbishment of Auckland's rail rolling stock, Wellington's inner city bypass, the Mercer to Longswamp section of the Waikato Expressway and several Auckland roading projects."

"The transport sector has responded to the increased level of funding that government has provided for transport," Dr Wright says.

Other notable features of the NLTP include:

* an increase of $78 million in maintenance funding. Maintenance accounts for nearly half this year's NLTP. There is an increased allocation to emergency works to assist the recovery from the February 2004 floods.

* an increase in construction funding for local roads and state highways of $103 million, with local road construction increased by 45 percent ($29 million) and state highway construction increasing by 23 percent ($74 million). A significant portion of the construction funding increase is for minor safety projects.

* an ongoing commitment to passenger transport. All regions have increases in passenger transport funding, with significant increases in some smaller cities.

* strong linkages between local roading, passenger transport and state highway initiatives.

* a continuation of regional development funding in Tairawhiti and Northland.

* a 90 percent increase in funding for travel demand management, rail and barging activities, with $18 million already committed for Auckland's passenger rail rolling stock upgrade.

* a continuation of walking and cycling funding, with an emphasis on walking and cycling strategies.

Dr Wright says extra funding announced by the government last December will be available from April 2005.

This funding is to be distributed to regions on a population basis but has not yet been allocated through the NLTP as policy has not yet been finalised.

"This extra funding, which is a huge increase for transport in New Zealand, will accrue to each region.

Authorities will need to plan in advance so they can take advantage of this window of opportunity," Dr Wright says.

"This will require the sector to step up to a new level of activity. Given the level of committed funding for this year, there are already signs this is happening."

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