The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has welcomed $1.3 billion in rail funding as part of today’s New Zealand Budget.

ARA Chief Executive Officer Caroline Wilkie said the additional investment in the rail network would create jobs and support the country’s post COVID-19 recovery.

“It is an exciting time for rail in New Zealand, with key projects underway to deliver substantial improvements to the rail network,” Ms Wilkie said.

“The new funding announcements confirmed today are great news for businesses across the rail supply chain, as well as for users of the network itself.”

The funding adds to a significant pipeline of investment in the country, led by the Auckland City Rail Link currently underway.

The Budget confirmed $722.7 million for the third tranche of KiwiRail’s rollingstock and mechanical maintenance facilities investment program and $85 million for new KiwiRail domestic workshops.

A further $449.9 million was allocated to the Rail Network Investment Programme, while $87.3 million goes towards core asset management in the rail industry.

Ms Wilkie welcomed the New Zealand Government’s acknowledgement that moving more freight on rail would be crucial to supporting the country’s transition to a low carbon economy.

The ARA’s Value of Rail 2020 Report confirmed rail freight produces 16 times less carbon pollution when compared to road.

“Investments like these are essential to building the capacity and efficiency of the rail freight network to meet rising demand safely and sustainably,” Ms Wilkie said.

“New rollingstock and maintenance facilities will also support vital new jobs across the rail supply chain.”

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