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KiwiRail welcomes consultation on Government Policy Statement on land transport

KiwiRail Chief Executive Peter Reidy said the Government Policy Statement on land transport released this week provides clarity on the Government’s draft investment priorities.

“We continue to have constructive engagement with the Minister of Transport on the Government’s rail network priorities,” Peter Reidy says.

“Rail plays a critical role in New Zealand’s multi-modal transport system contributing up to $2.1 billion in often unseen benefits annually – from emissions reduction to congestion relief and road maintenance cost savings.

“It isn’t road versus rail, but the two working together to deliver a resilient and efficient outcome for New Zealand.

“The draft GPS focus on metropolitan networks and the Golden Triangle of Auckland, Waikato, and Tauranga is welcome, as is retaining the integration of rail infrastructure within the land transport planning system.

“Funding certainty is important for our customers as it allows us to plan rail maintenance and improvements efficiently and cost-effectively. It means we can have the right materials and skilled staff to do work, at the right time.

“To deliver a safe, resilient, reliable national rail network, we will need the funding top-ups referred to in the GPS, and we will continue to engage with the Government on this. 

“We move 25% of exports and 50% of the nation’s largest port volumes, and every tonne we move emits 70% less carbon than by truck. We need to remember the importance of the provinces, as volumes are highest on the Golden Triangle in part because the rest of the network feeds freight from across the country.

“Road users benefit from fewer trucks on the road, as heavy trucks make for heavy road maintenance costs. Our freight customers want reliable performance so investing for resilience and reliability by replacing aging infrastructure is important.

“Together with Auckland Transport and Greater Wellington Regional Council, it is also important we invest in current metropolitan rail networks to lift reliability and ease road congestion. 

Completing Auckland’s Rail Network Rebuild, Wellington’s substation upgrade, and fixing old assets in both metro networks are examples of needed investment identified in the GPS. 22 million passengers used rail transport last year, and this is projected to grow substantially.

Mr Reidy said KiwiRail will submit in the consultation process.

“I encourage customers and communities who rely on New Zealand’s multi-modal transport network to submit their views as well.”

 

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