The New Zealand government will invest a record $54 billion (AUD$53.5) in land transport.
Part of the government’s Draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) 2021, over the next decade billions of dollars will be committed to improve transport infrastructure.
The GPS is how the government guides Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency to invest more than $4.5 billion a year raised through the National Land Transport Fund. It guides the agency to allocate funding towards rail and public transport.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford said this transport investment will make a real difference to New Zealand’s economic recovery.
“The Draft GPS 2021 signals that we will make a record investment in transport of $48 billion on top of our $6.8 billion from the NZ Upgrade Programme, which will help give the transport construction industry certainty during the current global economic headwinds,” he said.
“Given how both rail and coastal shipping help take pressure off our roads and produce less emissions, we are looking to fund both in GPS 2021.”
Twyford said building alternative transport options for people and freight is a vital part of achieving the Government’s goal of net zero emissions by 2050.
The announcement follows the new Hamilton to Auckland passenger train service that has received funding through the NZ Transport Agency for five years.
From August 3 this year, the Te Huia service will consist of two morning trains from Hamilton, with two return evening trains each week day and a single return train on Saturday.
Twyford said the new service is part of a wider government vision to enable development along the Hamilton-Auckland growth corridor.
“Our government is already investing $618 million to electrify the rail lines in South Auckland out to Pukekohe and build railway stations in Drury, which will support a whole new future town there,” he said.
The Ministry of Transport also has work underway to investigate options for rapid rail between Hamilton and Auckland.
The federal budget 2019 provided a $1 billion funding boost to support a long overdue revitalisation of rail and work has already started on the $196 million Wellington commuter rail upgrades.
The Government is now seeking feedback from local government, the transport sector, community groups and the wider public on the draft GPS 2021.
Engagement on the draft GPS closes 27 April 2020.