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Region’s mayors support new government plan for transport

The mayors of Wellington, Lower Hutt and Porirua have all welcomed the new 10-year plan for transport from Government which promises to unlock record investment in the roads, rail and public transport.

Minister of Transport Phil Twyford announced the Government Policy Statement (GPS) 2018 on Land Transport today. It increases investment from $3.6 billion in 2017/18 to $4 billion in 2018/19, and rise to $4.7 billion a year by 2027/28,

The Government will also invest $700 million this year in specific projects and councils will invest a further $1 billion a year.

Wellington Mayor Justin Lester says the Government approach fits perfectly with the Wellington City Council’s goals.

“We want to give people more options to take public transport, cycle or walk so people also have the option of leaving the car at home,” the Mayor says. “We look forward to working with Government on how to make our plans work and ensure Wellington continues to be the most liveable city in the world.”

The Government Policy Statement also includes a series of reporting measures to track the progress of transport goals, including reliability of freight and average passenger travel times on regional networks, tourist routes and metropolitan areas.

“Wellington has a good history of public transport, both in usage and variety,” the Mayor says. “It is imperative trains, buses and light rail run on time so people can have confidence in using them. We cannot be a world-class city without reliable public transport.”

Let’s Get Wellington Moving, a joint initiative between the city and regional councils and the NZ Transport Agency, will later this year reveal its plans to reduce congestion and make Wellington a more liveable city.

Mayor Lester said he also supports the Government’s spending in the regions.

“Wellington relies on the areas to the north for a lot of its economy. A more efficient regional network means more export and import activity can flow through the capital.”

Lower Hutt Mayor Ray Wallace also welcomed today’s GPS on Transport, particularly the introduction of a targeted enhanced Funding Assistance Rate to enable local councils to bring forward priority local projects, provided they meet certain criteria.

Mayor Wallace says it’s too early to know exactly what local projects might be covered by the enhanced funding assistance rate, but that Lower Hutt has a number of important transport projects worthy of support.

“We have some crucial roading projects needing big investment and support from the Government is critical to getting these over the line. It’s not just about roads either – Council is developing a network of cycleways and shared paths across the city and looking at ways to improve public transport connections.”

Porirua City Council Mayor Mike Tana said he’s thrilled at the increase from 56% to 78% in the Funding Assistance Rate for high priority roading projects in Porirua.

“This means we can do more without increasing the level of investment from our community. It’s a massive enabler from central government that will help us with projects that improve safety, access and network resilience in our city. We’ll be able to catch up on intersection upgrades and complete our cycling and walkway projects faster. This will contribute to the creation of a more liveable city and will support future growth in Porirua.”