Transport planning processes to be simplified

Changes will be made to transport planning legislation because the laws are too complicated and hold up progress, Transport Minister Steven Joyce says.

Amendments to the Land Transport Management Act 2003 would make the processes simpler, more streamlined and less prescriptive, he said today.

"The current legislation is far too complicated -- it has resulted in confusing and convoluted decision making, ambiguity between planning documents and onerous consultation processes," he said.

"When passed, the updated legislation will promote a better alignment between central and local government roles in the transport sector. Local government will have more flexibility around its transport planning and fewer processes and procedures to manage."

Mr Joyce said his aim was to cut red tape and "get New Zealand moving" by greatly simplifying the number of tests and criteria used to assess transport projects.

Changes in the bill will include:

* Almost halving the number of transport committee members around the country from 228 to 118;

* Halving the number of formal transport plans or strategies required around the country from 35 to 18;

* Removing barriers to the use of the tolling and public private partnership (PPP) provisions in the Act.

It is government policy to consider PPPs and toll roads in its transport infrastructure strategies.

Mr Joyce said he expected to introduce the bill within six to nine months.

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