Fuseworks Media

GPS 2024: Over $20 billion to get transport back on track – Simeon Brown

Transport Minister Simeon Brown has released the draft Government Policy Statement (GPS) on Land Transport, outlining the Coalition Government’s plan to build and maintain a transport system that enables people to get to where they need to go quickly and safely.

“Over the next three years, our investment of around $7 billion per year prioritises economic growth and productivity, increased maintenance and resilience, safety, and value for money. It balances the need for investing in new projects, while ensuring our transport system is maintained to a high standard,” Mr Brown says.

“Delivering on commitments in our Coalition Agreements, we are re-introducing the successful Roads of National Significance (RoNS) programme, with 15 projects to enable people and freight to move as quickly, and safely, as possible.

“The draft GPS also commits up to $2.3 billion for public transport services and $2.1 billion for public transport infrastructure over the next three years. Delivering reliable, effective, and efficient public transport is a priority, particularly in our main cities of Auckland and Wellington.”

Increasing maintenance levels and improving resilience is critically important in achieving the Government’s overall objective of supporting economic growth and productivity. The draft GPS increases road maintenance funding by $640 million compared to the draft GPS released by the previous Government in August 2023 (this difference has been calculated at the midpoint of the activity class funding ranges).

“Potholes have become increasingly apparent on our roads in the past five years. To address this, we have established new State Highway and Local Road Pothole Prevention Activity Classes these activity classes will direct between $3.1 billion and $4.8 billion to address potholes on State Highways and local roads.

Road safety is a responsibility we all share. There will be a stronger focus on road policing and enforcement, investing in new and safe roading infrastructure, and targeting the leading contributors to fatal crashes.

“The Government will introduce workable legislation to enable roadside drug testing, review fines for traffic offences, and review the vehicle regulatory system to better manage the safety performance of the vehicle fleet.

The Government will not be continuing with a blanket approach to speed limits. Instead, there will be a focused approach on improving road safety by building safer infrastructure, investing in safer drivers, and requiring safer vehicles.

“Investment in infrastructure to reverse recent speed limit reductions will be prioritised, where safe to do so. This includes the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA) increasing speed limits to 110 km/h on roads engineered to that safety standard.

Ensuring that investment in transport is value for money and delivers better outcomes is a key focus of GPS 2024. The Government also recognises the increasing pressures on the National Land Transport Fund, and the need to increase revenue.

“The Government will appoint independent members to the Road Efficiency Group and refocus its efforts on finding efficiencies in road maintenance, standardising maintenance protocols, reducing expenditure on temporary traffic management, and reviewing maintenance contracts.

“To balance the transport budget, we are proposing an increase to the Motor Vehicle Licencing Fee by $25 in January 2025 and a further $25 in January 2026.

“We will also provide a Crown grant of $3.1 billion, a Crown loan of $3.1 billion, and a 12 cent, 6 cent, and annual ongoing 4 cent per litre increase in Fuel Excise Duty, and RUC equivalent, in January 2027, 2028, and 2029, respectively. We will not be raising FED and RUC this term.

“I expect the NZTA to consider different ways of funding and delivering major transport investments, ensuring they make efficient use of every dollar spent. This will likely include Public Private Partnerships (PPPs), increased use of tolling, ‘Build, Own, Operate, Transfer’ equity finance schemes, and value capture, to generate additional revenue and deliver infrastructure in a more efficient manner.

“Alongside the draft GPS, we are signalling several system reforms, including shifting to a 10-year National Land Transport Programme, progressing legislation on time of use charging, and moving the whole vehicle fleet to RUC.

“I invite local government, the transport sector, community groups, and the wider public to have their say on the draft GPS. Projects and funding commitments will be confirmed through the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) later this year.”

The draft Government Policy Statement on Land Transport (GPS) document is available at www.transport.govt.nz.

Consultation closes on 2 April 2024.