Press release | Date: 2017-04-12 | Ministry of Transport and Communications| No: 55/17
“Improvements to the infrastructure will ensure that the nation has easier and safer daily travel, reduced travelling time, increased mobility and will as a result be more competitive. None of us knows what the future will bring, but we are making sure that we are ready for whatever comes. This is the reason why we are proposing to use 1 064 billion kroner over the next 12 years on modernising the infrastructure and on the development of safer, more efficient and greener transport solutions”, says Minister of Transport Ketil Solvik-Olsen.
“We know that opportunities for growth and new workplaces are inextricably linked to the establishment of the best possible transport solutions. Railways, roads, ports, airports and digital infrastructure are a necessity if we to are utilise the Kingdom as a whole. We must bind the region closer together and we must eradicate queues and pollution in and around our towns and cities. To get our citizens to and from work, to be able to deliver our goods to the markets, and to be able to be part of an increasingly digitalised world, we must strengthen and improve our infrastructure”, says the Minister of Transport.
Constructing new and stopping the deterioration
“We are now in the process of building, maintaining and organising in a better way. During the current parliamentary period the Government stopped the decline into disrepair of the road and railway systems. The task now is to reduce the backlog and develop our national infrastructure with a longer term perspective through the largest and most ambitious National Transport Plan ever presented”, says the Minister of Transport.
“Accessibility and traffic flow will be improved for the general public, trade and industry. Roads, railways, ports and fairways will be refurbished and modernised throughout the nation. We are constructing roads, and are accomplishing this more efficiently and not in the old hodgepodge manner. We will lay more railways than any other government has done for 50 years, and while all this is going on, we are taking better care of all that we already have”, says the Minister of Transport.
A better way to build the nation – not just spending more money
“The transport system has been afforded low priority for far too long. At the same time Norway has received a very low return on the funds employed on construction, operation and maintenance. The present Government has therefore implemented reforms that greatly increase the efficiency of the transport sector. We will be harvesting the benefits of the reforms for many years ahead. We have changed the manner in which the Norwegian transport system is constructed and operated. During the course of our first period in government we have shown the will to take necessary and vital decisions and choices, and these have not been simply restricted to increased budgets and grants”, says Solvik-Olsen.
Wealth creation and restructuring
The Government’s objective is to ensure that the transport system is safe, promotes the creation of wealth and contributes to the restructuring of the nation into a low emissions society.
“We will clear the way for new technology that improves transport for the travelling public, improves transport safety and contributes to the transformation of the nation into a low emission society. This is a Transport Plan that creates new possibilities for many and provides the foundations for growth. Modern and efficient transport promotes competitiveness and assists trade and industry in the creation of new workplaces”, says the Minister of Transport.
A Transport Plan for children
For the first time children and adolescents have a dedicated chapter in a National Transport Plan, a transport plan for children and adolescents.
“When we construct the road and collective transport system for the future, it is especially important to take children and adolescents into the equation. It is vital that all young people feel safe when cycling to school, when they are being taken to a kindergarten or pre-school or when they are at play in their local community”, says Solvik-Olsen.
536 billion kroner earmarked for roads
Government plans to use 536 billion kroner on roads during the coming 12 year period. The plan dedicates 57 percent of the total budget to roads.
“We have created an ambitious plan for the Norwegian road network. Record high investments will improve accessibility and traffic flow for our citizens and the transport of goods nationwide”, says Minister of Transport Ketil Solvik-Olsen.
The construction of our national highway network is given high priority, and the plan calls for an investment of 217 billion kroner over the 12 year period.
The National Transport Plan also allocates a total of 24 billion kroner to secure national highways and main county roads against landslides and avalanches. Safe pedestrian and cycling facilities have also been afforded high priority.
The measures given priority in the National Transport Plan will result in approximately 290 kilometres of four-lane highways and 910 kilometres of other roads during the period covered by the plan. The plan includes a framework for the operation and maintenance of the national road network of more than 100 billion kroner during the period.
319 billion kroner to the railways
Approximately 319 billion kroner has been allocated to railways. This is roughly 35 percent of the total economic framework. 45 percent of investment funds in the new Transport Plan are earmarked for railways.
“In built up residential areas it is of particular import to provide good collective transport. Rail transport is both fast and efficient in its exploitation of area, but the railways in these areas do not meet with the needs. Capacity is overstretched in many local areas, necessitating infrastructure to reduce travelling time and provide the potential for an increase in the number of train departures”, says the Minister of Transport.
Shorter journey times and the potential for increasing the frequency of departures around the largest towns and cities are important areas for investment. For passengers using the InterCity lines between Oslo and Skien and Halden and Lillehammer the service will improve as and when the new double-track lines are completed. The construction of the Ringerike Line opens the way for a new rail service to Hønefoss. In Trøndelag, the electrification of the Trønder and Meråker line provides the basis for a more environmentally friendly local rail service with increased capacity. In Western Norway the construction of a twin-track stretch between Arna and Stanghelle provides a faster and safer local train service on the Voss Line. Many of the measures serve to reduce travelling time for the services between Oslo and the other major towns and cities. At the same time investments will be made in the upgrading of the Nordland and Ofot lines, which will be amongst the first stretches to have the modern signalling system – ERTMS.
“In order to provide the opportunity to carry more goods by rail it is necessary to focus especially on freight. It is for this reason that the new Plan includes a separate package of measures. Electrification of stretches of track, new rail links, the construction and upgrading of terminals and an increase in the number of passing loops are all key elements in improving the competitiveness of rail-borne freight,” says Solvik-Olsen.
The Government will continue its work of reducing the maintenance backlog. Plans are in place to reduce the current backlog by 1/3 during the planning period. In addition to this, major sections of the rail network will have new signalling plant installed during the 12 year period. These measures lay the foundations for a more operationally stable railway system with improved punctuality and regularity.
31.7 billion kroner for the coastal areas
The groundwork will be done for the development of safe and efficient shipping along the Norwegian coast. The Government has prepared a framework for coastal initiatives during the planning period of 31.7 billion kroner.
A major part of the funds made available are linked to the further development and modernisation of the navigational infrastructure, with the objective of ensuring the continuation of the high level of maritime safety along the Norwegian coast and in coastal waters. The backlog in the navigational infrastructure (lights, lighthouses and other markers) will be dealt with and negated during the first part of the planning period. The backlog relating to quays and breakwaters etc will be fully reversed during the 12 year period.
The Government’s investment plans for new plant and major investments in fairways and fishing ports amount to 13 billion kroner during the period. Within this framework approximately 7.6 billion kroner is earmarked to 34 new projects and 300 million kroner is allocated for the completion of projects already under way. The Stad Ship Tunnel, Borg Port parts I and II, Andenes Fisheries Port, Værøy Fisheries Port and the port and fairway project in Longyearbyen are the largest port and fairways projects.
The Government plans to invest 3.7 billion kroner in the procurement and maintenance of equipment. This includes amongst other things the purchase of two multi-function vessels, vital to maintaining maritime safety.
“A subsidy arrangement has been built in to the 2017 budget designed to stimulate the transfer of goods from road to sea. This arrangement is continued in the National Transport Plan and will have an annual average framework of 100 million kroner in the first 6 year period, and a total framework of 1.7 billion kroner over the full 12 years.
In addition to the above, we will establish a grant arrangement for investments in ports. This will contribute to the development of efficient and environmentally ports. We propose a total framework of 2 billion kroner during the planning period”, says Solvik-Olsen.
3.9 billion kroner to aviation
Aviation is vital to the nation. Investments in the operation and maintenance of are primarily channelled through Avinor. In the Avinor Report, which is published simultaneously with this NTP, there is a long list of projects and tasks that Avinor is currently working on. The Transport Plan includes an allocation of 3.9 billion kroner to aviation as an additional contribution to this work. The funds will be used to facilitate the move of Bodø Airport and the new airport at Mo i Rana. Aviation infrastructure is self-financing, and is not therefore usually part of a National Transport Plan.
The relocation of Bodø Airport will provide the region with a new and modern airport, while at the same time releasing valuable real estate near the population centres for the much-needed town development. The Government proposes 2.4 billion kroner for the new airport, with work to commence during the first part of the planning period.
There is also a need for a new and up-to-date airport at Helgeland. The State will therefore contribute with funds for a new airport in Mo i Rana. A total of 1.47 billion kroner is allocated to the project. The remainder of the funds will be covered by local contributions.
Cities, towns and public transport
A total of 66.4 billion kroner has been earmarked for urban environment agreements, urban growth schemes and incentive schemes in the nine largest urban areas. This includes 24 billion kroner for public transport, cycling and pedestrian initiatives for the national highways and 24.1 billion kroner in special subsidies to major public transport projects in the four largest urban areas. These are subsidies where the State covers fifty percent of the cost of the following projects: The Fornebu Line in Oslo and Akershus, Metro Tunnel in Oslo, Bergen Light Rail to Fyllingsdalen in Bergen, Super Bus Phase 1 in Trondheim and the Bus Thoroughfare in North Jæren.
Approximately 1 billion kroner has been allocated to railway stations and railheads in the railway system. A total of 17.2 billion kroner in incentive funds has been allocated. The incentive arrangements for improvements to the public transport system are being phased out, but will be continued as part of the urban environment schemes and urban growth schemes.
The urban environment schemes and urban growth schemes and the incentive scheme will be the most important tools for encouraging more citizens to use public transport or cycle and go to the nine largest town and city areas. The overall goal of the schemes is to achieve zero growth in the use of private vehicles as a means of transport.
Urban environment schemes have been entered into between the State, the Municipality of Trondheim and Sør-Trøndelag County Council, and an agreement has been negotiated for an environment agreement for Oslo & Akershus. The agreement will be signed on it has passed through the relevant political process. Negotiations are ongoing for urban growth scheme agreements for Bergen and Nord-Jæren.
Technology billions and adapted legislation
“Digitalisation and other new technology will almost certainly result in a radical change in the way we plan travel, how we travel and the impact travel has on the environment and climate. Through the new National Transport Plan the Government wishes to prepare the groundwork for developments in the field of technology. Norway will be a winner in transport technology”, says the Minister of Transport.
The Government proposes that 1 billion kroner shall be used in innovation, pilot scheme activities, R&D and a competition for Smarter Transport in Norway. This is in addition to the investments in new technology under the auspices of the transport authorities and Avinor.
We propose a competition arena for innovation, pilot projects and R&D. We have called the scheme Pilot T. Under this competition various participants in the relevant fields will be able to test new solutions in practice. In order to stimulate local innovation and development in the public transport sector, we also invite the Municipality of Oslo and the County Councils to participate in a competition to develop Smarter Transport in Norway. The plan is to allocate 100 million kroner to be distributed between from 1 to 3 winners.
New technology contributes to the change to a greener society
The Transport Plan provides the basis for a reduction in the emission of pollutants in the transport sector. The sector is currently producing roughly one-third of emissions in Norway, a total of 15.6 million tonnes. Emissions from road traffic are the largest contributor.
In the Perspective Report 2017 shows projections of greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector. It is estimated in the report that emissions will be reduced by roughly 2 million tonnes by 2030. Most of the reduction will result from that the switch to low and zero emission technology will reduce emissions generated by road traffic.
“The Government wishes to provide the stimulus to encourage the majority of the general public and trade and industry to choose environmentally solutions. We wish to prepare the ground for the use of technology that contributes to that the best choices are also the best for the climate. Freedom of choice opens the door to positive potential and creates engagement and enthusiasm for the change to a greener society. I am a technology optimist. I am convinced that new solutions will help Norway to become a low emission society by 2050”, says the Minister of Transport.
“The National Transport Plan comes at a time where we see many technological gains and major changes in the transport sector. In developing the Plan, the Ministry has amongst other things looked at the importance of a change in technology that will result in that it will by 2025, in the case of private family vehicles and light commercial vehicles, only be possible to purchase vehicles in these classes if they have zero emissions.
This clearly illustrates developments that can mean that we will see a 50% reduction in the emission of greenhouse gasses from road transport by 2030 compared to the estimates published in the Perspective Report. This serves to illustrate the enormous potential inherent in new technology”, says the Minister of Transport.
The Government’s major efforts in public transport, cycling and pedestrian solutions are designed to create a genuine alternative to the family car in and around the larger urban centres. In addition to this the change to zero and low emission vehicles in public transport will contribute to a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, together with amongst other things freight carriage measures by rail and sea and more environmentally friendly aviation fuels.
Increased efforts in the field of road safety
“The Government has the vision of zero deaths and badly injured in the traffic sector as the basis for our transport safety work. We have stated our goal in the National Transport Plan 2018-2029 of reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries in road traffic incidents to a maximum of 350 per annum by 2030. This represents a reduction of roughly 60 percent in comparison to the figures for the period 2012-2015. This is an ambitious goal, but with increased efforts in a number of areas I believe that it is absolutely achievable”, says Minister of Transport Ketil Solvik-Olsen.
“In 2016 we lost 136 of our citizens in accidents on Norwegian roads, which is the second lowest number of deaths in traffic since 1950. Regardless a single death in road traffic is one too many, and there is a continued need for a considerable effort if we are to pursue and continue this positive trend.
Our ambition to achieve the goal of reducing the number of deaths and serious injuries in road traffic to maximum 350 by 2030 is extremely ambitious, and premises that action and effort is taken by many others than just the civil road authorities. The breadth of work done in road traffic safety must be further extended, and not least the knowledge base must be extended and improved”, says the Minister of Transport.