Improving the resilience of Gisborne’s transport lifelines to help keep people and freight moving is the focus of a multimillion dollar transport package announced by the NZ Transport Agency today, including $96m for the upkeep of the district’s roads over the next three years.
Transport Agency Central Regional Director, Raewyn Bleakley, says the investment in Gisborne, as part of the National Land Transport Programme, will help to improve the resilience of the roading network and help to fulfil the economic potential of the region. The new Tairawhiti Roads joint initiative between the Transport Agency and Gisborne District Council will provide improved delivery and better value for money.
Ms Bleakley said the investment recognises the value for the Gisborne economy of unlocking the potential of important freight routes, particularly transporting logs to Eastland Port – a cornerstone of the local economy. To achieve this, improvements to bridges will be carried out between Te Araroa and Tologa Bay to create an additional 20km of High Productivity Motor vehicle routes, enabling more freight to be carried on fewer trucks.
“The improvements to bridge capacity mean larger, more productive vehicles can access the ports, which allows more goods to be moved in fewer journeys. What this means is fuel, money and time saved, and safety gains from fewer truck movements – and in newer, safer trucks. This adds up to a more streamlined and efficient freight operation for Gisborne economy.”
Ms Bleakley says the newly formed Tairawhiti Roads will be ideally positioned to effectively manage roads and highways that local communities rely on.
“Gisborne has a challenging roading network, and we know that the simple things matter – keeping the roads open, keeping them safe, and keeping them in good nick. Through Tairawhiti Roads, we’re working in a more coordinated and effective way than ever before, and over the next three years we expect to make encouraging strides in how we look after our roads.”
Ms Bleakley says the Transport Agency remains strongly focused on improving safety, with an investment of $21m to reduce crashes in the region. This investment will target high-crash sites, and help to ensure the safety of all road users in the Gisborne area. In the five year period from 2009 to 2013m 16 people died on Gisborne’s roads, and while the road toll in Gisborne is trending downwards, the tragic loss of life and limb remains unacceptable, says Ms Bleakley.
Ms Bleakley says the package sees $5m invested in cycling and walking in Gisborne, including $1.3m from the Urban Cycleways Fund for the Wainui Cycleway extension. This upgrade will be complemented with the Bikes in Schools programme.
The programme also provides $1.5m towards Gisborne’s public transport system. This will help to build on the successes of recent years, in which the Council has improved the value of its two main services through improving the standards of the service routes, bus fleet and facilities.
National and regional NLTP documents, Q&As and other information is available on the NZTA website at www.nzta.govt.nz(external link)
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
Walking and cycling
Road safety promotion
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.
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.
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.
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.