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$13.9 billion partnership to strengthen transport links across New Zealand

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The NZ Transport Agency has today announced the details of a $13.9 billion programme of investment planned for New Zealand’s land transport system over the next three years.

The Transport Agency’s Board has confirmed investment levels for 10 separate activity classes included in the 2015–18 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP), and endorsed it as giving effect to the 2015 Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS).

The $13.9 billion forecast expenditure for 2015–18 marks a 15% increase compared to the previous 2012–15 NLTP.

The NLTP is a partnership between local authorities who invest local funding on behalf of ratepayers and the Transport Agency which invests national funding from petrol taxes, road user charges and vehicle registration and licensing fees through the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF). The $13.9 billion 2015–18 NLTP includes $10.5 billion from the NLTF with the remainder primarily from local authorities.

NZ Transport Agency Chief Executive Geoff Dangerfield said the 2015–18 NLTP investments were aimed squarely at increasing economic growth and productivity, improving safety and driving value for money, reflecting the strategic direction set by the 2015 GPS.

“This is an investment in the transport system as a whole, and it aims to make all parts of the system work better together to provide the greatest benefits to the people who use the transport system every day.

“For the transport system to work most effectively for individuals, communities, businesses and for the country as a whole all of its components must be strong and well-connected.

“Together with our local authority partners we are investing in the development of the transport system across all of New Zealand’s regions, as well as the linkages between and through our major cities.

“We’re aiming to make urban trips easier and more predictable for people, whether those trips are by car or motorcycle, on public transport, on foot, by bicycle or a combination of any of these modes. We’re working to integrate our road and rail networks to move freight more safely and efficiently. We’re partnering with local government to get the best return on every dollar spent maintaining our roads, and we’re stepping up our efforts to make cycling in urban areas a safe and more attractive transport choice.

“The 2015–18 NLTP is investing in all of these areas to deliver a high-performing transport system for New Zealand. We are building on a decade of sustained investment and preparing New Zealand’s transport networks for the next 10 years and beyond.”

The preparation of the 2015–18 NLTP has been informed by 16 regional transport committees and Auckland Transport developing and submitting regional land transport programmes outlining activities to be prioritised for NLTP funding.

Mr Dangerfield said the investments made through the NLTP aimed to be regionally responsive and nationally consistent, and the Transport Agency would continue to work closely with councils to deliver the programme over the next three years.

Local Government New Zealand (LGNZ) President Lawrence Yule said LGNZ supported the Transport Agency’s continuing coordination with local government to improve the quantity and quality of investment in transport networks. 

“LGNZ believes that this will support local economic productivity and ultimately improved regional and national prosperity,” Mr Yule said.

Mr Dangerfield said the NLTP was a true partnership with local government, and the 2015–18 programme incorporates two key developments that lay the foundations for better transport investment and decision making.

“First, Funding Assistance Rates (FAR) for local government activities have been reviewed and updated to provide funding assistance rates which better reflect the needs of  rural and provincial areas and to make the system fairer between different types of transport activities.

“Second, we’ve worked with local government to establish the One Network Road Classification system, which establishes consistent, fit-for-purpose levels of service for all roads in every part of the country. This system enables consistent and fair investment decisions in partnership with local councils for the funding of road maintenance and renewals.”

Mr Dangerfield said the 2015–18 programme also included the implementation of a new Regional Improvements programme. A number of road improvement projects outside the major metropolitan areas are being developed, alongside the Government-funded Accelerated Regional State Highway Programme which was announced last year. 

Improving road safety will continue to be a key area of focus through the NLTP, with $3.2 billion to be invested through the programme over the next three years, an increase of $550 million from 2012–15.

Mr Dangerfield said direct expenditure on cycling would triple from that planned in the 2012–15 NLTP, rising to more than $250 million, reflecting an increasing focus on promoting active transport modes.

When combined with wider investments in cycling facilities as part of improvements to local roads and state highways, the total investment in cycling in New Zealand over the next three years is anticipated to be between $350 million and $400 million, delivering over 250km of new urban cycleways and greater network connectivity.

“Cycling is a fast growing mode of transport in several New Zealand cities and towns, and making urban cycling a safer and more attractive transport choice had been established as a key priority for the agency.”

Other highlights of the 2015–18 NLTP include:

  • $3.15 billion (including local share) is planned for spending on maintenance of local roads and $1.68 billion (including emergency works) is planned for spending on maintenance of state highways – an increase of 6% compared with 2012–15
  • almost $2 billion is planned for spending on public transport - a 21% increase on 2012–15
  • over $5.5 billion is planned for improvements to local roads and state highways– an increase of about 22% compared with 2012–15. 

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

2015–18 NLTP – questions and answers

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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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