New Zealand is investing $1.2 billion NZD to help KiwiRail attract more customers and move more freight by rail, KiwiRail Group Chief Executive Greg Miller says.
“I welcome this substantial funding, which is another major boost for rail in New Zealand. For our customers this investment sends a clear signal that rail has a big future and gives them the confidence to get on board,” Miller said in a news release.
“Our customers want to make greater use of rail and we’re seeing more road operators reach out for our support as their networks contract,” Miller added. “We’re here to help them.”
The funding builds on $1 billion included in the government’s 2019 budget. This additional round of funding includes $400 million towards replacing the aging Interislander ferries and $421 million to continue the replacement program for some of KiwiRail’s oldest locomotives.
“The Government’s investment allows us to continue with our locomotive replacement programme and raise the standard of our rail lines, bridges and tunnels across the country,” Miller said. “This will enable KiwiRail to offer better and more reliable train services for our customers, and move more of New Zealand’s growing freight task onto rail.
“This funding recognises that rail has a greater role to play in New Zealand’s transport sector, and that it can make a valuable contribution towards lowering our transport emissions, reducing road congestion and saving in road maintenance costs – which benefits our nation as a whole,” Miller added.
The funding also includes $246 million, plus a $148 million top-up of the National Land Transport Fund, towards ensuring New Zealand’s rail network, which includes more than 3000 km of track, more than 1000 bridges and nearly 100 tunnels, is reliable and resilient.
“The range of track renewal and facility upgrades we are planning will also support our workforce of almost 4000, as well as numerous civil contractors and material supply businesses across the country,” Miller said.