Thursday, August 30, 2012

NZ Transport Agency announces major transport investment for Canterbury

Press Release: New Zealand Transport Agency – Southern region

The NZ Transport Agency has announced an investment of approximately $1billion in Canterbury’s transport system over the next three years through the 2012/15 National Land Transport programme, that sees major investments in Christchurch’s roads of national significance projects, public transport and repairs to quake damaged transport infrastructure.

This programme 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.

The NZTA’s Regional Director for the Southern region Jim Harland, says between $130 and $180m is expected to be invested for each of the next three years of the 2012-15 National Land Transport Programme in emergency works in response to earthquake recovery challenges. The thrust of the programme for the next three years is to grow the Canterbury’s economy and support the recovery of Christchurch.

A key focus of the programme is continuing to support the region’s resilient export sector by progressing the Christchurch Motorways roads of national significance projects, and maintaining and improving Canterbury’s strategic freight routes.

Another priority is public transport, with $130m being invested to increase public transport patronage in Christchurch which has dropped by 40% since the 2010/11 earthquakes. The NZ Transport Agency supports Environment Canterbury’s recent proposal for a redesigned public transport network for Christchurch that will more efficiently service the market at lower overall cost, he said.

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

• Approximately $40 million to complete the first stage of the Christchurch southern motorway road of national significance

• Progressing work to four-lane State highway 1 from Harewood Road to Hornby on the Western Corridor on the Christchurch road of national significance programme, and completing the design and consenting for the Western Belfast Bypass section of this corridor.

• Completing consenting and design for stages two and three of the Christchurch Southern Motorway and the four-laning of State highway 1 to Rolleston

• Additional investment in investigating a high productivity motor vehicle route between Timaru and Christchurch to carry vehicle weighing up 53 Tonnes to more efficiently move freight to grow the Canterbury and New Zealand economies.

• Widening and strengthening of the Factory Road Bridge in Timaru to increase the safety and freight carrying capacity of roads servicing the Clandeboye dairy factory

• A $130 million investment over the next three year to improve public transport in Christchurch and lower its overall operating costs.

Mr Harland said another significant project being progressed in the region in the 2012-15 National Land Transport programme is a start on replacing the Waitaki Bridges on state highway 82 at Kurow over the next three years that involves an investment of $17 million. This news will be welcomed in the local area as the new bridges will increase the route security and resilience for the state highway 82/83 route and those living in the area. The NZ Transport Agency appreciates the patience of the local community who have been waiting to hear this news.
 
Mr Harland said the investment in Canterbury is part of a $12.28 billion investment in New Zealand’s land transport system set out in the 2012-15 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP), including $9.38 billion from the National Land Transport Fund. The National Land Transport Programme is a partnership between local authorities (who invest funding from ratepayers and prioritise activities and projects for funding) and the NZTA (which develops the programme and invests National Land Transport Fund funds collected from road users through vehicle registration fees and fuel taxes).

While the 2012-15 National Land Transport Programme represents a significant investment in New Zealand’s transport system, with the country facing tight economic conditions, not all proposed activities could be funded.

“We’ve been working closely with Canterbury local authorities for several months to ensure that funding is carefully targeted to the areas and the activities where it is needed the most and where it will deliver the best outcomes for the greatest number of people in the region. We will continue working closely with them as the 2012-15 National Land Transport Programme is implemented over the next three years.” Mr Harland says. 

The preparation of this programme has been informed by 16 regional transport committees and Auckland Transport developing and submitting regional land transport programmes outlining activities to be prioritised for funding.

National and regional National Land Transport Programme documents, Q&As and other information can be found on the NZ Transport Agency website at www.nzta.govt.nz.

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