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Hon Simon Bridges

Minister of Transport

25 May 2017

$548m for rail around New Zealand

Budget 2017 will invest $548 million of new capital funding to maintain and upgrade New Zealand's rail network, supporting freight movement, exporters, tourism and public transport, Transport Minister Simon Bridges says.

$450 million of that funding will be invested in KiwiRail over the next two financial years.

“KiwiRail has achieved significant productivity and efficiency improvements over the past two years, despite the challenges of the November 2016 earthquake and the Midland Line fire,” Mr Bridges says.

“Budget 2017 investment in New Zealand's rail infrastructure and systems will ensure that KiwiRail can improve its resilience and reliability, while continuing to support tourism, freight and export industries.

“The Government wants to put the rail network on a longer-term sustainable footing. In the year ahead we will be conducting a wider review of KiwiRail's operating structure and longer-term capital requirements.

“Restoring the South Island Main Trunk Line is a key priority for the Government. KiwiRail has been making excellent progress clearing slips, obstructions, and reinstating the rail track so that this essential connection can open by the end of the year,” Mr Bridges says.

“Budget 2017 will support KiwiRail by making funds available for this essential reinstatement work to continue while their insurance claim is finalised.”

The Government is also investing $98.4 million in Wellington's metro rail network.

“This investment acknowledges the importance of a functional, safe and reliable public transport rail network in the Wellington region,” Mr Bridges says.

This funding will allow the replacement of the remaining timber poles and overhead wires that provide power for trains on the Hutt Valley, Melling and Johnsonville rail lines.

Taken together with the Government's funding for Auckland's City Rail Link (CRL), Budget 2017 allocates nearly $1 billion towards rail infrastructure.

“The Government has invested over $4.2 billion in rail since taking office in 2008 and this further very big investment in New Zealand's rail network will support and strengthen this important part of New Zealand's transport system,” Mr Bridges says.

Media contact: Eric Chapman 021 521369

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