Earlier this week Russel noted that the government spends 6 or 7 dollars on roads for every 1 dollar on public transport. Subsequently there was some debate about where Dr Cullen’s buy back of the Rail network fits in this calculation, so I thought it would be useful to go to the Green’s parliamentary advisory unit and ask for some of background to Russel’s statement. Russel based his figures on the forecast expenditure in the 2007/2008 National Land Transport Program. That program intends to spend $1.7 billion on roads. This figure includes maintenance, renewal, and improvements of local roads and state highways. Forecast expenditure for the same period on public transport is set at $280 million. This is a spending ratio of close to 6:1 in favour of roads.
Those figures don’t include capital investment in rail infrastructure because it falls outside of the National Land Transport Program expenditure that Russel was highlighting. Most, but not all, of that funding comes from a different budget – Michael Cullen’s Vote Finance rather than Annette King’s Vote Transport. Some of that rail investment will benefit freight transport, and another portion will benefit public transport. The Greens haven’t attempted yet to apportion that rail investment between various freight and public transport uses but they are working on it.
Another figure worth pulling out of that Land Transport Programme is the increase in walking and cycling expenditure from $14 million this year to $28 million in 2016/17. (Or an increase from 0.6 percent of total land transport expenditure to an overwhelming 0.8 percent).
Of course, I am being slightly facetious. After all it’s not like cyclists and pedestrians won’t have more space on the roads for themselves once petrol reaches $5 a litre.