Good roads critical to infrastructure goals

In News2 MinutesBy NZ Trucking magazineJuly 6, 2021

The Government needs to optimise existing roading systems across the country if it is to realise its future infrastructure goals, says the Road Transport Forum.

In its submission to the He Tūāpapa ki te Ora Infrastructure for a Better Future: NZ Infrastructure Commission Strategy Consultation Document, the RTF has stressed the need for roads; electricity generation to match demand; distribution infrastructure to match alternative fuel sources; and connectivity throughout New Zealand to support both technology in trucks and communications with customers.

RTF chief executive Nick Leggett said roads are critical to all other infrastructure builds.

“The conundrum for us is commenting on future infrastructure while the Government downplays roading investment and cancels significant roading projects in favour of funding the Auckland cycle bridge, without any appropriate economic evaluation,” he said.

“No matter what powers future heavy vehicles, we need to optimise the existing roading infrastructure and to ensure it continues to be fit for purpose.”

The submission also argued freight by rail needs to be considered as complementary to road freight.

“A fundamental flaw in the present approach to infrastructure policy is a misplaced ideological position that rail freight is a competent competitor to road freight, instead of being seen as a complementary service,” Legget said.

“This position is based on an irrational assumption that rail can flourish without road transport support. In reality, it is the opposite,” he said.

Leggett said basic infrastructure needs had to be met for the New Zealand economy to remain competitive.

“Given New Zealand’s geographical and natural hazard profile, as well as the fact that we are technology takers, rather than makers, that must include high performing roads for a long time to come.”