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$1.44 billion to keep Wellington’s transport momentum going

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The NZ Transport Agency has today announced a three year investment of $1.44 billion to continue the momentum of the ongoing transformation of the Wellington region’s transport system.

Transport Agency Regional Director Central Raewyn Bleakley says today’s announcement of the National Land Transport Programme for 2015-18 will continue the significant transformation that Wellington’s transport system has seen over the last three years, and will help to harness the region’s economic potential while making the lives of hundreds of thousands of residents easier and safer.

Ms Bleakley says the programme, a package of investment from the NZ Transport Agency and councils, will keep the momentum going in the revitalisation of Wellington’s transport network, which has seen a surge of investment across all forms of transport and a burst of activity that enabled a wide array of projects to spark into life.

“The last three years saw the most comprehensive package of infrastructure investment that Wellington has seen in decades. This strong commitment will be renewed over the next three years, with investment to improve cycling, public transport, and our roading infrastructure, and to keep the wheels of our economy moving.”

“The programme is a really exciting partnership between the Government and councils to keep Wellingtonians moving, however they choose to travel.

The programme also provides by far the biggest boost to cycling infrastructure the Capital has ever seen, with $53 million, including $20m from the Urban Cycleways Fund. The next three years will provide the opportunity for swift progress on a new cycling link between Wellington and Hutt Valley, with the Urban Cycleways programme accelerating construction between the Wellington CBD and Ngauranga, and Petone and Melling.  The Petone Ngauranga to section is expected to be designed and consented over the next three years, and built in the following programme. A number of other cycleways are proposed for construction in Kapiti, Porirua, Upper Hutt, Lower Hutt and Wellington City as part of the Urban Cycleways Programme, which brings together investment from the Urban Cycleway Fund, The Transport Agency and councils to kick-start these projects early.

On top of this investment, Kapiti will see a brand new 17km shared pathway open in 2017 as part of the Kapiti Expressway.

“We’ve seen a remarkable resurgence in cycling numbers, and we really want to catch this wave by building safe and convenience facilities that will encourage people to get out of their cars and on their bikes.”

Ms Bleakley says the weather and earthquake events of recent years have hammered home how crucial it is to have a resilient transport network with a range of secure route options. She says the Petone to Grenada project, which will be progressed through its design and consenting stages, will provide a long-awaited link between Porirua and Tawa and the Hutt Valley, helping to relieve pressure off the roading network, dramatically reduce journey times, and provide people and goods with a safe and secure way to travel between east and west.

“Petone to Grenada and Transmission Gully will work together to provide Wellington with sturdy, high-quality route options. This will create a more resilient transport network in the event of earthquakes, bad weather and other disruption.”

Transmission Gully isn’t the only section of the Wellington Northern Corridor that is making strong progress.

Over the next three years the MacKays to Peka Peka Expressway will be completed, and the Peka Peka to  Otaki section is due to start construction next year.  Next year, New Zealand’s first ‘smart motorway’, between Nguaranga and Aotea Quay, will be up and running to provide extra capacity, and enable traffic flows to be managed to provide more predictable, smoother journeys for motorists.  The Otaki to Levin section of the Wellington Northern Corridor will also move towards detailed design.

Ms Bleakley says the improvements along the Wellington Northern Corridor will help to make the region more competitive by improving travel times, making journeys safer and more reliable, free up road space for public transport, and improve the movement of freight to and from CentrePort.

The programme also provides funding for the Kapiti Road project, which will connect the Paraparaumu Town Centre to the Kapiti Expressway and help to ease traffic on Kapiti Road.

Public transport investment continues to flow, with combined investment with Greater Wellington at $456m for the three year programme. Already the last three years has seen a 60% rise in investment, with a new Matangi train fleet, the introduction of real time information systems, and a series of station upgrades and Park and Ride facilities. More Matangi trains will start operating during the next three years, and other projects, like Integrated Ticketing and Bus Rapid Transit, will ramp up.

“The public will also see concepts and designs developed for a new Bus Rapid Transit network between the Wellington Railway station, the hospital and Kilbirnie. These systems will make travelling by public transport easier and more attractive, while helping to ease pressure on our busy roading network.”

“Wellington holds the crown for the highest proportion of public transport users in the country, and we want to incentivise that even further by providing a modern, convenient system with comfortable, reliable journeys, robust infrastructure, and technology that makes taking public transport easy.”

The Hutt Valley sees a strong surge in investment, with a major safety upgrade in the pipeline for SH58, a new interchange at the junction of SH58 and SH2, and investigation of the Cross Valley Link.  Designs for improvements for the Melling Interchange are expected to be advanced, and the Petone to Grenada project will see designs unveiled for a new Petone Interchange. Safety improvements are proposed for the Rimutaka Hill Road, which has seen millions of dollars of investment in recent years to keep motorists safe on this challenging but vital route.  Safety improvements are also planned on State Highway 2 between Moonshine Road and Gibbons Street.

The programme will also see $312m for the maintenance and operations of the Wellington roading network, a $52m increase on the previous programme.

Ms Bleakley says the package provides a balanced approach to keeping people and goods moving in and around the Capital.

“The majority of the region’s workforce commutes to Wellington City, and we need a transport system that can support this daily influx, however people choose to travel.”

National and regional NLTP documents, Q&As and other information is available on the NZTA website at www.nzta.govt.nz/NLTP (external link)

2015-18 NLTP - Questions and Answers

What is the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP)?

The NZ Transport Agency develops the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) every three years to give effect to the Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS). The NLTP sets out the activities that address the government’s transport priorities to give effect to the GPS.

Activities and projects which form part of the NLTP are the product of close collaboration, particularly between the Transport Agency and local government.

Investments are funded in a range of activity classes – a total of 10 in 2015-18, which are:

  • State highway improvements
  • State highways maintenance
  • Local road improvements
  • Local roads maintenance
  • Public transport
  • Walking and cycling
  • Road policing
  • Road safety promotion
  • Regional improvements
  • Investment management

What is the primary focus of this NLTP?

This 2015-18 NLTP investments are aimed squarely at increasing economic growth and productivity, improving safety and driving value for money, reflecting the strategic direction set by the 2015 GPS.

The programme has a strong focus on economic growth and productivity with 55% of investment focused towards this outcome. A total of 23% is focused on road safety and 22% on travel choices and the environment.

The investments made through the NLTP aimed to be regionally responsive and nationally consistent. Giving effect to the GPS, investment through this NLTP reflects the Transport Agency’s commitment to delivering value for money from existing and planned activities and driving improved performance from the land transport system.

How has the NLTP been developed?

The programme is a partnership between the Transport Agency and local authorities (who invest revenue primarily from rates). Funds for much of the Transport Agency investments come from the National Land Transport Fund, made up primarily of revenue received from things such as road user charges, fuel excise duty and vehicle registration.

The preparation of the 2015-18 NLTP has been informed by 16 regional transport committees and Auckland Transport. The committees developed regional land transport plans outlining activities to be submitted for NLTP funding.

Public submissions were considered by the regional transport committees on the final projects and activities that were submitted to the Transport Agency for potential inclusion in the NLTP. They were then assessed and prioritised according to a range of investment criteria to establish whether they were eligible for funding and of good value for money.

This process means the Transport Agency can build an overview of land transport requirements. The aim has been to develop an NLTP which is regionally responsive and nationally consistent.

How does the NLTP reflect regional land transport programmes?

Regional land transport plans (RLTPs) are an essential building block for the NLTP. However, these plans generally include more activities than there is funding available both regionally and nationally. This means that some activities in RLTPs may not proceed if sufficient funding is not available.

How much money will be invested in land transport through the NLTP over the next three years?

Total investment in this NLTP is $13.9 billion. This represents a 15% increase in total funding compared with the 2012-15 NLTP. A total of $10.5b will come from the National Land Transport Fund.

Key highlights of NLTP investment over the next three years:

  • Improvements to state highways and local roads of more than $5.5b are planned
  • Close to $2b total investment is planned for public transport, and represents a 21% increase compared to 2012-15
  • Direct investment in cycling will increase by 205% to $251m
  • About 42% of investment ($5.4b) will be outside the three key metropolitan areas outside Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch
  • About one third of the investment ($4.2b) will be in Auckland’s transport system and services
  • Planned co-investment between the Transport Agency and local councils for 2015-18 will be about $6.2b. 
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