“Road freight carries 93% of the total tonnes of freight moved in NZ”
“While trucks account for only 4% of vehicles on our nation’s roads, we pay nearly half of all Highway Trust Fund user fees.
And we’re willing to pay more to get this job done.”
And in this push, he says, truckers are truly not alone: “America’s farmers, manufacturers, building trades, steel workers, business and labour leaders all stand in unison behind this national goal.
“Together we can rebuild America – faster, better and stronger than ever before. So the question for Congress becomes: Are you with us?”
And he concludes: “Beijing is building roads and bridges. America should take notice.”
There is a Kiwi equivalent to this approach: Like Spear, RTF boss Nick Leggett has also been championing badly-needed spending on NZ’s highway infrastructure as a priority for the Government’s economic recovery plans.
Prior to last month’s Rebuilding Budget (AKA, according to some, The Budget of Doom), Leggett expressed his concerns about the Government’s apparent determination to spend money collected for roads – via taxes and RUCs – for cycling, walking and rail.
He interpreted the Government Policy Statement on
Land Transport 2021/’22 – 2030/’31 as an apparent push by Government “to demonise trucks,” as the document “heavily promotes rail freight over road. That means less money for roads that badly need the spend.”
The RTF pre-empted the Budget with a pushback against this trend. Trucks, said Leggett, “are not unsafe. Where there are safety concerns, it’s due to lack of infrastructure spend making NZ roads unsafe for the traffic demands placed on them – nothing to do with the performance of the vehicles themselves, which are in fact, made safe via a number of NZ laws, rules and regulations.
“The re-engineering of the transport system to satisfy ideology is not only costly, but flies in the face of economic reality. In a COVID-19 world, many people will be waking up to the fact that NZ needs export and import trade to survive.
“For that critical supply chain to work in a way that allows
NZ to compete, you need a good roading network. We haven’t walked our products to market for some time.
“While we support passenger rail, road freight is simply more flexible and immediate than rail freight will ever be. There are some 93,000 kilometres of road in NZ, and only 4000kms of rail track.
“That split isn’t going to change significantly and the freight customers (the market) will continue to make business-based choices, no matter how much money the Government throws at rail.
“Road freight carries 93% of the total tonnes of freight moved in NZ. We do not support any heavy-handed State intervention to counter market choices. It appears the mass return to rail freight is a fantasy, rather than policy grounded in evidence.
“The COVID-19 experience has confirmed the adaptability of