Government proposes more fuel tax, more spending on walking, cycling and trains

The Green influence seems obvious in changes to funding and expenditure on transport, with a possible increase in  fuel tax (for Aucklanders that would be a double hit), and substantially more funding to go towards public transport, and cycle and walking infrastructure.

Stuff:  Government to invest in road safety and rapid rail at expense of state highway upgrades

The Government has unveiled its 10-year plans for land transport, which includes huge investment in road safety and rapid rail at the expense of state highway upgrades.

The annual $4 billion a year National Land Transport Fund is a work programme carried out by the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA), which is guided by the priorities set by the Government in the Government Policy Statement (GPS).

  • Proposing a fuel tax increase of between nine and 12 cents a litre to fund a raft of new land transport plans that focus on investing in road safety and rapid rail.

The tax would be a double whammy for Aucklanders who can also expect Auckland Council to introduce about ten cents a litre in regional fuel taxes to pay for major transport projects.

  • Walking and cycling infrastructure is getting a 248 per cent boost in funding over three years and a whole new area is being set up to deal with funding for rapid transit.
  • The other big investment areas in the GPS are regional roading improvements, public transport – which is receiving a 46 per cent hike in funding – and new investment in rapid transit and rail.

So a major shift being tried from private car use to public transport and Shanks’ pony.

But National’s transport spokesman Jami-Lee Ross says the Government’s proposal will be met with “anger and disappointment right around New Zealand”.

Cutting $5 billion out of the state highway construction programme over ten years is an “extraordinary blow for regional New Zealand from a Government which has claimed to stand behind it”.

Associate Transport Minister Julie Anne Genter:

Today marks our first huge win for the Greens in government.  Alongside Labour, we’ve just announced an exciting, transformative transport strategy for Aotearoa.

The National government were stuck in neutral, taking money from the regions to spend 40% of the transport budget on just a few stretches of motorway. Instead, we’re putting that money into projects with high total returns and focussing on public transport, cycling and road safety upgrades, especially in regional areas where we have seen far too many accidents and roads in disrepair.

What does it mean? We’ll more than double expenditure on public transport and cycleways in cities, but we know that half of all travel occurs on local and regional roads. New investment of $800 million will focus on desperately needed safety improvements – more median barriers and passing lanes on the open road, and safer streets in our towns. We’re also investing in regional rail to reduce big trucks on your roads.

And we’re tackling climate change. For the first time ever, we’re making the environment a major priority in transport. From now on, transport spending must focus on how it can reduce climate pollution as well as other negative impacts on public health such as water quality.

I’m so proud of these wins. They wouldn’t have happened without the Greens in government.

Some good will come of this, but not everyone will be happy.

You may be best to hope for subsidised walking shows and bicycle clips, and hope you live c lose enough to a railway line but not too close to be annoyed by the noise.