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Investing for the future in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty

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A $13.9 billion programme of investment planned to be spent on the country’s transport system over the next three years was announced by the Transport Agency last month.

Waikato Expressway Ngaruawahia section

The National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) for 2015-2018 is a significant one, with a 15 per cent increase on investment compared to the previous three years.

The investment is aimed at improving economic growth and productivity, safety, and value for money. This reflects the strategic direction set by the 2015 Government Policy Statement on land transport.

Over 2015-18 around $2.4 billion will be invested in the Waikato and Bay of Plenty targeting continued economic productivity and growth, improving safety and supporting population growth in the region and in the upper North Island economic powerhouse.

Key projects including fast-tracking of the completion of the Waikato Expressway, completion of the Hamilton Ring Road, and in Tauranga the Baypark to Bayfair upgrade and Hairini underpass will be advanced.

Safety improvements, including at SH1/29 Piarere Junction, on SH2 in the Bay of Plenty, and at high risk rural intersections will also be targeted.

There’s also significant investment to encourage cycling and walking, and growing public transport with councils and the Transport Agency working to offer travel choices and reduce road congestion.

With partners, factors which contribute to fatal and serious crashes in the region including speed, drink and drug driving, high-risk driving and not wearing restraints will also continue to be a focus.

Of the total invested nationally, around $10.5 billion will come from the National Land Transport Fund by way of road user charges, vehicle registration and fuel excise duties.

Much of the remaining investment comes from local councils whose 16 regional land transport committees, work closely with the Transport Agency to shape priorities for funding through regional land transport plans.

These plans are a key building block in identifying activities which are aligned with the national priorities identified by the Government’s Policy Statement. They are then assessed by the Transport Agency to see whether they meet a range of investment criteria.

As a regionally responsive and nationally consistent programme, Transport Agency Chief executive, Geoff Dangerfield said the NLTP represented a true partnership with local government.

He cited the Funding Assistance Rates review as a positive example of closer collaboration and said the One Network Road classification also provided fair and consistent joint investment decisions for the funding of road maintenance and renewals.

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