The finalised GPS follows a series of regional forums, a national Summit and a submission process that attracted 924 submissions. It adopts the priorities in the draft document with a focus on rail, light rail and public transport.
Transport Minister Phil Twyford says the plan contains "record investment in the roads, rail and public transport for our growing regions and cities.”
The GPS positions safety and access as the two key strategic priorities. Delivery of these priorities will be influenced by environment and value for money concerns.
The GPS requires a mode-neutral approach to transport planning and investment decisions. This is significant and will change how the transport system is planned, funded and used. It sees the GPS increasing funding for public transport, walking and cycling and in a new activity class for rapid transit. Funding for state highway improvements is cut. The statement also enables rail investment alongside other land transport decisions.
GPS 2018 increases investment from $3.6 billion this financial year to a record $4 billion in 2018-19. This would to rise to $4.7 billion a year by 2027/28.
Finance Minister Grant Robertson shared the announcement with the Transport Minister explaining that “We know that productivity and economic growth in New Zealand has been held back by gridlock in our cities and under-investment in regional roads and rail. We are fixing this by ensuring that the land transport component of our economic plan supports a modern, growing economy.”
The GPS lifts petrol excise duty and road user changes. There will be three increases in petrol excise duty of 3.5 cents a litre from 30 September, and equivalent increases in road user charges from 1 October with further 3.5 cent increases in 2019 and 2020. For Aucklanders this is on top of an 11.5 cent regional fuel tax that will be applied from 1 July. It will raise $1.5 billion over 10 years and contribute to the funding of the $28 billion Auckland Transport Alignment Project.
A second stage GPS will be delivered in 2019. It will focus on rail following the completion of the future of rail study. It will also consider actions to improve the efficiency of the New Zealand vehicle fleet and investigate funding for coastal shipping.