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Budget's transport package is an investment

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Budget's transport package is an investment in growth

Media release
17 May 2007

The New Zealand Council for Infrastructure Development welcomes today's transport budget package as an investment in growth and productivity. Chief Executive Stephen Selwood says "applied across the whole of New Zealand, the proposed regional fuel tax will make much needed investment in transport infrastructure possible. The tax will allow debt servicing for vital projects previously far beyond our funding reach. This will drive productivity growth, advance safer roads and contribute to sustainability goals through improved public transport".

"Increased fuel taxes leave a bad taste in many people's mouths, but the reality is that this much needed investment will improve transport services and all New Zealanders will benefit. We should commend the Government for it's brave committment to lifting progress and look forward to the positive benefits that will result. The additional funding will enable key projects across the country to be advanced, including:

• Development of public transport in the main centres including electrification of Auckland's rail network and upgrades to Wellington's rail infrastructure and rolling stock

• Underwriting funding for completion of the Western Ring Route, the Penlink toll road and other key routes in the Auckland region

• Advancing construction of the Waikato Expressway

• Advancing in the Tauranga strategic roading network

• Advancing Transmission Gully in Wellington

• Investing in national safety upgrades

Pleasingly the government is also investigating the dedication of all of the monies raised through petrol tax being committed to the transport system. This has previously not been the case.

Increased fuel tax alone will be insufficient to advance all of the major projects in New Zealand. But permanent allocation of all of the petrol tax combined with tolls on some new roads will provide the necessary revenue to support borrowing to fund the major projects.

"Today's budget announcement is a much needed and postive step forward for transport, the economy and the environment."

ends

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