National Land Transport Programme announced today sees a significant shift in
the allocation of road user charges and fuel taxes away from road users to
public transport users and raises questions about the future of the state
highway network,” says Infrastructure New Zealand Chief Executive Stephen
“Many city dwellers
will welcome the Government’s positive focus on public transport, walking and
cycling. And while road users will be pleased with the focus on safety, they
will be scratching their heads wondering where their Road User Charges (RUC)
and Fuel Excise Duty (FED) payments are going.
“State Highway capital
expenditure is down $630m (18%) on the previous three years expenditure. This
is a major concern noting that vehicle kilometres travelled on state highways
is increasing rapidly – up one billion kilometres (5%) just last year.
“Coupled with the
Government’s Policy Statement for transport which sees state highway capital
investment halved from a peak of $1.4 billion in 2018/19 to just $600m by 2025,
this represents a major shift in transport funding away from road to public
“If vehicle kilometres
travelled on the state highway network continue to grow in the next decade as
they have in the last decade (and all evidence suggests this will be the case)
then we are likely to face a significant state highway infrastructure deficit
in coming years.
“Such a trend will
increase the likelihood of another radical shift in transport prioritisation
with the next change of government.
“The good news is that
local and regional road improvements are up in today’s announcement, as is road
maintenance across state highways and local roads, all of which will be
welcomed by road users especially in the provinces.
“Expenditure on road
safety promotion and demand management is up 79% and road policing up by 10% on
previous years so transport users can expect to see a lot more advertising on
media channels and police on the roads.
“But the major gain is
investment in public and rapid transit and walking and cycling which more than
doubles from $1.2 billion expenditure on the last three years to $2.5 billion
this time around.
“It is good to see this
investment happening, but much more needs to be done to capture value from
public transport beneficiaries.
“The Government’s focus
on increased density and improved public transport will, perversely, increase
the value of urban land, driving up the cost of housing and transport
“Price signals are
required to ensure our transport system remains fundable and that the
beneficiaries of policy pay their fair share.
“It is clear that new funding and
financing mechanisms are required to keep up with sorely needed investment in
transport,” Selwood says.
For further information and comment contact
Stephen Selwood on 021791209