National hiding again
Given the value of rail report was released in 2016 during the last National administration and has only just been released now in November 2017 under the Labour administration I think we can tell National are allergic to rail and its worth despite its resilience .
This from Kiwi Rail:
Study highlights rail’s value to New Zealand
Rail is delivering up to $1.5 billion a year to New Zealand in hidden benefits, according to a study prepared as part of a joint KiwiRail/NZTA team looking at integrated transport planning.
“That far exceeds what the taxpayer is spending on rail,” KiwiRail Chairman Trevor Janes says.
The study, carried out by professional services firm EY, looked at some of the wider economic benefits the rail network brings to New Zealand.
“The areas where rail is delivering for New Zealand include cutting congestion, reducing greenhouse gas emissions, improving safety on our roads and lowering spending on road maintenance and upgrades.
“These benefits do not show up on the balance sheet, but they are very real, and they make a huge contribution to New Zealand.
“They need to be considered when choices are made about the transport options available, and how to allocate resources.”
Mr Janes says the biggest contribution from rail comes from the reduction it brings in road use.
“Rail is taking cars off the road and it’s taking trucks off the road. That is saving the country $1.3 billion a year because it cuts congestion for all road users, including other freight movers.
“The study found that without rail there would be the equivalent of an additional 100,000 daily car trips on our roads each year – 76 million light vehicle hours reduced through rail – and 57 million of those hours were on Auckland roads.
“Rail also means heavy vehicles such as trucks are on the roads for 11 million fewer hours each year – the equivalent of 30,000 trucks driving for an hour every day.
“Using rail cuts New Zealand’s carbon emissions by 488,000 tonnes a year. That is the equivalent of taking 87,000 cars off the road, saving millions of dollars. Rail freight has 66% fewer carbon emissions than heavy road freight which is useful for New Zealand reaching its ambitious climate change targets.
“New Zealand has a road toll issue with deaths on the road rising markedly since 2013. Taking trucks and cars off the road makes for a safer New Zealand with EY estimating that because we have a rail network, there are 271 fewer fatalities and injuries on the roads.
“Most importantly, that means fewer Kiwi families suffering the heartache that road accidents bring.
“In economic terms, it means $60 million in savings.”
The approach taken by EY was to model what it would mean for the roading network if there was no rail network.
“EY took a conservative approach. For example, in considering the economic cost of road accidents it took the same approach as the Ministry of Transport. If it had calculated the cost of road crashes the same way as ACC does, the savings from road incidents would have been more than $100 million.
“The numbers produced reflect the value of rail at a point in time. We will continue to refresh the data with our transport stakeholders, ensuring we are reflecting the changing nature of rail in New Zealand.
“There are further benefits which are not quantified in this report such as the economic benefits rail brings to the regions through network resilience, land use and value uplifts, together with benefits from its tourism and freight businesses.
“It is also important to note that the study reflects similar work done in Scotland, Australia and the wider United Kingdom.
“This study is an important contribution to the transport debate and underlines the value of rail to New Zealand,” says Mr Janes.
Not the first time National have hidden reports on rail. Then Transport Minister Simon Bridges was earlier confronted this year about trying to bury a business case into the Third and Fourth Mains after the report showed the high economic value of building those Mains.
The case for the Third and Fourth Mains given its high value would have been a catalyst to bury the then proposed East West Link Option F. However, with the new administration the East West Link Option F was binned and construction on the Third Main is due to start soon.
This from Transport Minister Phil Twyford:
Study shows need for rail investment – Twyford
Monday, 27 November, 2017 – 04:45
A new study shows the rail network generates $1.5b a year of benefits to New Zealand through reduced congestion, fewer road accidents, lower road maintenance expenses, and less greenhouse emissions, says Minister of Transport Phil Twyford.
“This study underlines the reasons for the Labour-led Government’s plans to boost investment in rail – both in our cities and in the regions.
“Rail is a great way to travel and move cargo. It takes both passengers and freight off the roads, improving the travel experience of road users and reducing their costs.
“For too long, rail has been on life support – starved of government funding. The Labour-led Government will restore balance to transport funding, boosting investment in rail infrastructure both for passengers and freight.
“This will include significant investment in regional rail via the Regional Development Fund, as set out in the Labour-New Zealand First coalition agreement.
“The establishment of a light rail network in Auckland will significantly increase the $1.3b a year of benefits that road users, including freight companies, experience from reduced congestion.
The EY report was commissioned by NZTA and KiwiRail in 2016 but wasn’t released by the past government.
“National needs to explain why they sat on this important report for nearly a year. It’s as if they didn’t want to acknowledge the benefits of investing in rail.
“National’s ideological bias against rail, in favour of low-value projects like their $2b East-West Link plan, has cost New Zealand through congestion, pollution, road damage, and traffic accidents. The Labour-led Government will not repeat that mistake.
“I thank EY, NZTA, and KiwiRail for this important contribution to the debate on the future of transport in New Zealand,” says Phil Twyford.
This chart shows the value of rail although it is already out of date with passenger rail trips at 20 million in Auckland:
While one freight train with 50 wagons can remove up to 100 trucks off the road.