Keeping the economy growing and the region well connected and safe is the focus of a $187m three-year package of transport investment for the Taranaki region.
NZ Transport Agency Regional Director Central Raewyn Bleakley says today’s National Land Transport Programme announcement provides funding for the next three years, including continued investment in improving State Highway 3 heading north from New Plymouth.
“We recognise that State Highway 3 is Taranaki’s vital link to the rest of the North Island, and over the next three years we’re going to continue developing workable solutions that will help this crucial lifeline to better serve those who rely on it.”
Ms Bleakley says safety improvements between Bell Block and Waitara are a high priority for the Transport Agency. Between 2008 and 2012, there were eight deaths and 16 serious injuries on this busy stretch of highway.
“The continued loss of life and limb is unacceptable, and we’ll be focusing our efforts on the intersections of Princess St and Mangati Road, which are two of the most high-risk intersections in the entire country.”
The programme also provides funding for the completion of the Vickers to City project, which will dramatically improve journeys in and out of the city and provide additional capacity with new bridge crossings at Te Henui and Waiwhakaiho.
Ms Bleakley says investigations are continuing for improvements on State Highway 3 between Awakino Gorge and Mount Messenger and a package of activities to improve safety, passing opportunities and incident management will be rolled out over the next three years. The project has been brought forward by the Government’s Accelerated Regional Roading Package, which has also enabled construction to begin on the SH3 Normanby Overbridge Realignment in South Taranaki.
$116m of the programme has been allocated to the upkeep of local roads and highways, with all councils along with the Transport Agency’s highways department all receiving their full requested allocations.
The programme also provides $2m to improve walking and cycling in New Plymouth, including $147,000 from the Urban Cycleways Fund.
Ms Bleakley said the investment package recognises the value for the Taranaki economy of unlocking the potential of important freight routes, particularly transporting goods to and from the Port of Taranaki, and between South Taranaki and the Port of Napier.
”We’ve now opened up key freight routes to High Productivity Motor Vehicles, which enable more freight to be carried on fewer trucks, and we’re now actively working to improve the safety and resilience of those routes.”
The programme also provides, together with Taranaki Regional Council, $9 million for Taranaki’s public transport system to help people get around by bus and prevent congestion. Services have seen a 21% growth in patronage over the last three years with a further 16% projected over the next three years. The programme’s investment investment will help to foster this growth through better facilities, and integration with other forms of transport such as through the provision of bike racks on buses.
National and regional NLTP documents, Q&As and other information is available on the NZTA website at www.nzta.govt.nz/NLTP (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:
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: