$12.3 billion transport plan announced
The Government has unveiled plan to spend $12.3 billion on New Zealand's land transport system over the next three years, partly funded by increases in petrol excise duty and road user charges.
Transport Minister Gerry Brownlee said the programme was the largest of its kind in New Zealand's history and would fund transport infrastructure and services around New Zealand such as state highway improvements and the Government's "roads of national significance".
Auckland will get about $2.7b, $890 million of which would be spent on "committed public transport activities".
The Government would provide a $50 million annual contribution to Canterbury's roading recovery from the National Land Transport Fund.
Any additional costs related to the rebuild would come from outside the fund.
The estimated cost of roading recovery works in Christchurch has grown to between $870m and $1.1bn. The Transport Agency has funded $116m of these costs so far.
Brownlee said the increases in fuel excise duty and road user charges from the 2013/14 financial year would help keep momentum on roading projects.
Decisions on how much the increases would be would be made later in the year.
Brownlee said the programme would focus on supporting economic growth, improving safety and providing people with a range of transport choices.
The $12.3bn programme represented a 13 per cent funding increase on the previous three year programme which funded about $10.9bn of transport activities.
Government spending on land transport will rise by about $220m from the earlier target set in the Government's Policy Statement over the 2012 – 2015 period.
"The Canterbury earthquakes, reduced growth forecasts and the tighter fiscal environment have put pressure on the National Land Transport Fund which delivers the Government’s land transport investment programme.
"It is important for the country’s economic growth that we continue to invest in infrastructure that will assist the economy and for that work to progress in a timely manner."
The Transport Agency will be given a short-term one-off $100m borrowing facility to help it manage its budgets on projects across the country.
The agency said the programme would result in the completion of major roading projects and improve key transport corridors across the country.
Chief executive Geoff Dangerfield said the first of the Government's roads of national significance, Auckland's Victoria Park Tunnel, was completed earlier this year, ahead of budget and on schedule.
The remaining six which would be progressed over the next three years were: Christchurch motorways, the Waikato expressway, the Tauranga Eastern Link, Puhoi to Wellsford, Auckland's Western ring route, including the Waterview Connection and the Wellington Northern Corridor.