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NZTA announces investment for transport across top of South Island

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The NZ Transport Agency has today announced a $221m transport investment over the next three years to make the transport network across the top of the South Island more safe, resilient and cycle-friendly.

Central Regional Director Raewyn Bleakley says today’s announcement of the National Land Transport Programme for 2015-18 includes an investment of $148m for the day to day upkeep of the roading network throughout Tasman, Nelson and Marlborough over the next three years.

“The top of the South Island has a varied and challenging roading environment that provides an economic lifeline for forestry, horticulture, viticulture, commuters, and tourism.  Keeping our roads safe and reliable, and keeping them open when Mother Nature strikes, is vital to the continued growth of our vibrant economy.”

The package of funding will progress a number of upgrades to trouble spots. Planned improvements to State Highway 6 on the Rai Saddle and the Quarantine Road Roundabout, as well as the State Highway 1 Weld Pass, are expected to improve journey times while making these routes more resilient and safe.

Meanwhile, the next three years will see the completion of the new Spring Creek roundabout at the intersection of SH1/SH62/Ferry Road to improve traffic flow and prevent crashes, and under the Government’s Regional Accelerated State Highway programme completion of the   investigation of replacement bridges at Wairau and Opawa bridges on State Highway 1.

Nelson and Blenheim will see sharp rises in investment in cycling, which will help to improve safety and traffic flow, while also keeping people healthy. The Urban Cycleways Programme announcement of last week will make a sizeable contribution and enable a number of cycleways to be accelerated.

Three cycleways have been accelerated in Blenheim to help develop a safe, convenient and integrated network to encourage locals and visitors to choose active and healthy ways to move around. These are being progressed together in collaboration between Bike Walk Marlborough, Marlborough District Council and the Transport Agency.

In Nelson, the cycleway focus over the next three years will be on the Nelson Coastal Route, which will provide a popular and useful link between Nelson City, along the existing highway corridor, to Tahunanui, and the airport. The route and detail of the Coastal Route will be informed by wider network planning in Nelson.

“Nelson already has the highest percentage of people cycling to work in New Zealand, which is an excellent achievement. Together with the Government and Nelson City Council, we’re continuing to devote investment to cycling, because we know that in Nelson every dollar will help cycling go from strength to strength.”

The NLTP package also includes further investment in enabling the expansion of 50Max and High Productivity Motor Vehicles (HPMV) freight routes, allowing higher volumes of freight to be carried on fewer trucks.

“Beefing up these routes to cater for larger, more productive vehicles will result in money, fuel and time saved, and it’s a win-win for other road users because more freight is being carried on fewer trucks.

“Freight is about much more than just trucks. Improving the productivity of freight has flow on benefits for the whole region and beyond -  it makes local producers more competitive, it supports employment, and it  efficiently gets our groceries from the farm to the distribution centre to the supermarket shelf.”

Ms Bleakley says the Transport Agency’s key focus in the fast-growing Tasman region is keeping communities connected and keeping roads secure and resilient for freight and tourism. Recent flooding in other parts of the country are a stark reminder of how weather events can impact local communities, and the programme provides funding for a project to improve the resilience of State Highway 60 against weather-related closures.

She says safety remains a top priority, and that targeted investment would be focused on addressing high-risk sections of road to help bring down the region’s road toll.

“The number of people losing life on our roads is unacceptable, and we’re going to keep identifying where the risks are, what the root causes of these crashes are, and targeting these areas to turn this around, while also investing strongly in day to day road maintenance.”

National and regional NLTP documents, Q&As and other information is available on the NZTA website at www.nzta.govt.nz/NLTP(external link)

2015-18 NLTP - Questions and Answers

What is the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP)?

The NZ Transport Agency develops the National Land Transport Programme (NLTP) every three years to give effect to the Government Policy Statement on land transport (GPS). The NLTP sets out the activities that address the government’s transport priorities to give effect to the GPS.

Activities and projects which form part of the NLTP are the product of close collaboration, particularly between the Transport Agency and local government.

Investments are funded in a range of activity classes – a total of 10 in 2015-18, which are:

  • State highway improvements
  • State highways maintenance
  • Local road improvements
  • Local roads maintenance
  • Public transport
  • Walking and cycling
  • Road policing
  • Road safety promotion
  • Regional improvements
  • Investment management

What is the primary focus of this NLTP?

This 2015-18 NLTP investments are aimed squarely at increasing economic growth and productivity, improving safety and driving value for money, reflecting the strategic direction set by the 2015 GPS.

The programme has a strong focus on economic growth and productivity with 55% of investment focused towards this outcome. A total of 23% is focused on road safety and 22% on travel choices and the environment.

The investments made through the NLTP aimed to be regionally responsive and nationally consistent. Giving effect to the GPS, investment through this NLTP reflects the Transport Agency’s commitment to delivering value for money from existing and planned activities and driving improved performance from the land transport system.

How has the NLTP been developed?

The programme is a partnership between the Transport Agency and local authorities (who invest revenue primarily from rates). Funds for much of the Transport Agency investments come from the National Land Transport Fund, made up primarily of revenue received from things such as road user charges, fuel excise duty and vehicle registration.

The preparation of the 2015-18 NLTP has been informed by 16 regional transport committees and Auckland Transport. The committees developed regional land transport plans outlining activities to be submitted for NLTP funding.

Public submissions were considered by the regional transport committees on the final projects and activities that were submitted to the Transport Agency for potential inclusion in the NLTP. They were then assessed and prioritised according to a range of investment criteria to establish whether they were eligible for funding and of good value for money.

This process means the Transport Agency can build an overview of land transport requirements. The aim has been to develop an NLTP which is regionally responsive and nationally consistent.

How does the NLTP reflect regional land transport programmes?

Regional land transport plans (RLTPs) are an essential building block for the NLTP. However, these plans generally include more activities than there is funding available both regionally and nationally. This means that some activities in RLTPs may not proceed if sufficient funding is not available.

How much money will be invested in land transport through the NLTP over the next three years?

Total investment in this NLTP is $13.9 billion. This represents a 15% increase in total funding compared with the 2012-15 NLTP. A total of $10.5b will come from the National Land Transport Fund.

Key highlights of NLTP investment over the next three years:

  • Improvements to state highways and local roads of more than $5.5b are planned
  • Close to $2b total investment is planned for public transport, and represents a 21% increase compared to 2012-15
  • Direct investment in cycling will increase by 205% to $251m
  • About 42% of investment ($5.4b) will be outside the three key metropolitan areas outside Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch
  • About one third of the investment ($4.2b) will be in Auckland’s transport system and services
  • Planned co-investment between the Transport Agency and local councils for 2015-18 will be about $6.2b. 
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