Major investment in future of Canterbury region’s transport system


Approximately $1.8 billion is being invested in Canterbury’s transport system over the next three years through the 2015-18 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) launched today, including funding to complete earthquake recovery work and much of the Christchurch’s roads of national significance programme.

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 nationally for 2015-18 marks a 15 per cent increase compared to the previous 2012-15 NLTP.

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.

This NLTP follows the direction outlined in the Government Policy Statement on land transport funding (GPS), with a focus on creating transport solutions that will support economic growth and productivity, improve safety, provide people with a range of transport choices and deliver the best possible value for money.

Transport Agency Regional Director for the Southern region Jim Harland, says $1,533 million is being invested in the Greater Christchurch transport network and $297 million in the wider Canterbury region over the next three years. In addition to finishing off earthquake recovery work and making significant progress on developing the Christchurch Motorways, a planned $137 million is being invested into growing public transport in Greater Christchurch over this period.

“An expected $47 million investment is being made in cycling and walking in Greater Christchurch during the 2015-18 NLTP period, including $19.56 million from the Urban Cycleway Fund. With a 20 per cent increase in cyclist journeys since 2011, cycling is becoming a transport mode of choice for more people and this programme will help us ensure Greater Christchurch is a place where people can feel safe riding a bike.”

Other significant investments in the next three year NLTP include $859 million for new roads and network improvements this includes delivering network efficiency and safety improvement to largely complete the Transport Agency’s Christchurch Motorway programme. The Transport Agency is also committed to supporting Christchurch City Council’s project to re-open Sumner Road to the Lyttelton Port of Christchurch this is part of the Rebuild Programme.

Mr Harland says outside of Greater Christchurch, $22 million is being invested in the realigning SH73 at Mingha Bluff near Arthurs Pass to help ensure safer and more predictable journeys between the West Coast and Canterbury regions. Bridge strengthening work is also planned on some key routes on South Canterbury local road networks.

“On the highway network, bridge strengthening will continue to expand the number of routes that can carry (HPMV) High Productivity Motor Vehicles. These are trucks permitted to carry loads of up to 62 tonnes.  A priority area for the Transport Agency is getting more freight on fewer trucks and improving the efficiency of the wider freight network.”

Funding for key projects to help create transport solutions for a thriving Canterbury include:

  • Approximately $859 million is forecast for investment in new roads and network improvements in Greater Christchurch including the Transport Agency’s Christchurch Motorway Programme.
  • $489 million for maintenance operation and renewals in Greater Christchurch.
  • $137 million is forecast for investment in public transport improvement in Greater Christchurch and $47 million is expected to be invested in cycling and walking.
  • A $22 million investment to realign SH73 at Mingha Bluff at Arthurs Pass to provide safer and more predictable journeys between the West Coast and Canterbury.

Mr Harland says while the 2015-18 National Land Transport Programme represents a significant investment in New Zealand’s transport network, with the country facing tight economic conditions, not all proposed activities could be funded.

We’ve worked closely with Canterbury council’s for several months, to ensure that funding is carefully targeted to areas and activities where it’s needed the most and delivers the best outcomes for the greatest number of people in the region Mr Harland said. 

National and regional National Land Transport Programme documents and other information can be found on the NZ Transport Agency website at 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.