Sunday, March 3, 2024

Proposal for $10.8 billion investment in Canterbury transport system

Canterbury councils and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency are proposing to almost double the investment in the region’s land transport system over the next 10 years to increase maintenance, manage risk from natural hazards, reduce emissions, enhance safety, and accelerate key transport projects across the region. 

At yesterday’s meeting, the Canterbury Regional Transport Committee – made up of representatives from each city and district council, Canterbury Regional Council and Waka Kotahi – approved a draft Regional Land Transport Plan, which will be shared with the community for formal consultation in early 2024. 

The draft plan outlines the plan for a $10.8 billion investment over the next decade to meet the proposed objectives. 

Canterbury Regional Transport Committee Chair, Peter Scott said the proposed step-up in funding, which would kick in from July 2024, aims to address deferred maintenance work and support a robust transport system that can stand up to ever-increasing use, as well as more frequent and severe exposure to extreme weather or natural hazards.

“This draft plan outlines how we’d like to invest in future transport solutions for Canterbury, while also providing ongoing stewardship to our existing transport network,” he said.

“A lot depends on the incoming government and whether they’ll change the Government Policy Statement for Land Transport, which currently includes provisions for a second Ashburton bridge and the Woodend Bypass. 

“To deliver this plan we will need central government to come to the party to fund the gap we need, which will likely be around $4.6 billion,” said Chair Scott.  

Funding for transport programmes and projects across New Zealand mostly comes from council funding, direct Crown funding, and the National Land Transport Fund, which is made up of road user charges and fuel taxes.  

Road maintenance, operations and renewals work across the region accounts for at least 40% of the land transport investment proposed for Canterbury over the next decade.

Other key transport projects in the draft plan are ranked according to their regional significance. These rankings reflect their contribution to the vision and priorities for Canterbury’s transport system.

The top three priority projects proposed are:

  • A second Ashburton bridge;
  • Greater Christchurch public transport upgrades, as outlined in the Public Transport Futures business case;
  • The Northern Link, including the Woodend State Highway 1 bypass. 

    As well as the shift needed to support a growing population and economy in Canterbury, the plan acknowledges the need to support the transition to reduce emissions from vehicles and adapt to the changing climate, the Committee said in a statement.

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