National Land Transport Programme disappoints
THE RECENTLY ANNOUNCED 2018 2021 National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) was predictably disappointing for the road transport industry. While the Government Policy Statement and rhetoric already used by this Government meant that our hopes were not high for a good outcome, it’s still frustrating to see critical roading projects ignored.
Overall government spending on the transport system has increased for the next three years. The $16.9billion investment is an 18% increase from the previous three years and a 44% increase from 2012-2015. However, 11% less is going to the state highways budget. Most of the money comes from the National Land Transport Fund, paid for almost exclusively by road users.
Nearly $4billion has been committed to public transport, rapid transit, and rail. $390million is also earmarked for provision of walking and cycling infrastructure. Now, some of this spending is justified, however clearly there is an element of pork barrel politics in it – satisfying the constituency that voted them in. Unfortunately, the money for these projects comes straight from the back pockets of road users and in some cases makes a mockery of the user-pays ethos of the National Land Transport Fund.
On the roading side of things, the Government is proud of the fact that the NLTP has committed more roading investment to the regions than the cities. Unfortunately, despite this welcome focus on regional roading, the Government has decided not to proceed with a number of critical state highway projects.
Major projects important to our industry, such as the Auckland east-west freight link alternative, Tauranga to Katikati, Christchurch to Ashburton and Otaki to Levin are
by Ken Shirley Chief Executive R T F NZ