More than $1.2 billion has been set aside for rail infrastructure in the Budget 2020 and could significantly boost to New Zealand’s civil engineering and construction sector says State Owned Enterprises Minister Winston Peters.
This includes $246 million to support investment in the track and supporting infrastructure, $400 million to help replace the Interislander ferries and associated portside infrastructure and $421 million for new wagons and locomotives.
Changes proposed through the Land Transport (Rail) Legislation Bill will also provide long-term certainty for rail by allowing network investment to be channelled through the National Land Transport Fund. Budget 2020 provides $148 million to support the fund to make these investments once the Bill has been passed.
Mr Peters says this is a milestone in securing the future of New Zealand’s rail system, and a step towards economic recovery.
“Rail is a critical part of our integrated transport network. Not only is investment essential to address decades of under-investment, but further investment in rail will play an essential role in our economic recovery post-lockdown,” Mr Peters says.
“KiwiRail is a major contributor to New Zealand’s infrastructure projects, and currently employs almost 4,000 people.
“The investment in rail infrastructure, is not only helping to secure the thousands of existing jobs at KiwiRail but will be a huge boost to New Zealand’s civil engineering and construction sector, with hundreds of contractors, and their material suppliers, needed nationwide for track renewal, mechanical facility upgrades and ferry terminal projects.”
Transport Minister Phil Twyford says these investments will help future proof the economy and reduce emissions.
“The Coalition Government has a bold vision for a 21st century rail network as outlined in the draft New Zealand Rail Plan. We need a resilient and reliable rail system to support freight and get our cities moving.”