Ashburton District Council has lodged its opposition to KiwiRail becoming an approved public organisation under the Land Transport Management Act, if it is to be funded from the National Land Transport Fund (NLTF).
The Council made its views known in a submission today on a proposal within the draft Government Policy Statement 2018 on Land Transport. It follows the Mayor Donna Favel, Deputy Mayor Neil Brown, and Chair of the Council's Service Delivery Committee Stuart Wilson attending a Government Policy Transport Summit on 9 April.
In the Mayor's submission, it said that Ashburton district's agriculture-based economy meant producers relied heavily on road transport and that local transport companies contributed significantly to the overall funding of the National Land Transport Fund through Road User Charges (RUCs).
"As a result we would be reluctant for the RUCs paid in this region to be used to fund passenger rail in urban areas, where our residents would not gain any direct benefit," the Mayor said.
"We believe the NLTF should be used to continue to maintain and more importantly upgrade our existing roading infrastructure to continue our district's financial contribution to the country's economy. Any funding should be provided through taxes and other sources, leaving the NLTF for roading infrastructure use only," she said.
Councils had until today to make a submission on the KiwiRail proposal and have until 2 May to make their views known on the overarching policy statement. Ashburton District Council is also preparing a submission on the policy statement.