National Land Transport Programme 3

I’ve written twice previously (here and here) about the National Land Transport Programme. This post is just a quick one to highlight a point a lot of New Zealanders don’t get.

This webpage here tells us where the money comes from to pay for the country’s roads, rail, footpaths, cycleways and public transport.

I’ve taken numbers straight from the Waka Kotahi page and just graphed it into a simple pie chart.

Sources of Funding for NLTP – motorists directly contribute 56% (blue segments)

It shows that around a quarter of the money comes from Road User Charges (diesel), another quarter from fuel excise (petrol), and a sliver from vehicle registrations.

A fifth comes from local rates, and the remaining 24% comes from various crown packages (general taxation).

Overall 56% comes directly from motorists using the road network, 44% comes from general taxation and rates.

Secondly, I’ve graphed how the money gets spent. This is shown on the same webpage – all I’ve done is taken the numbers and graphed them.

NLTP Investment 2021-24

This graph shows Road Operations and Maintenance is the biggest chunk, followed closely by road improvements. Road safety improvements round out the top three. These three blue components providing for motorists make up 69% of our total land transport spend.

So motorists directly contribute around 56% of transport funds, whilst getting back 69%.

Thirdly I’ve repeated the previous graph but for just the Canterbury Region rather than the whole country.

NLTP Investment in Canterbury 2021-24

This shows a similar pattern but even more pronounced, with the blue motorist components comprising 78% of the investment in Canterbury.

These numbers show that the revenue we collect from fuel tax and registrations is not sufficient to fully cover the cost of the roads that motorists use, let alone subsidise other travel modes. We have to top up this revenue from other sources; namely local rates and general taxation.

If you ever hear anyone say that motorists subsidise people who walk, bike and use public transport, you can point them to this data, which shows that the contrary is in fact true – taxpayers and ratepayers are subsidising motorists.