The country's land transport network will have $8.7 billion spent on it during the next three years, the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) announced today.

The funding will be managed through the National Land Transport Programme. Projects which boost economic growth, productivity and employment have been targeted.

"This is the largest land transport investment in New Zealand's history, and it represents a 17 per cent increase from the previous three-year period," NZTA chairman Brian Roche said.

"This additional investment will deliver significant benefits for New Zealand now and in the future."

The programme invested in projects in all regions, providing guaranteed funding levels for each region over the next three years.

Most activities had funding increases, including:

* a 21 per cent increase for public transport ($899 million over the next three years);

* a 19 per cent increase for New Zealand's state highway network ($4.5b over the next three years);

* a 14 per cent increase for local roads ($1.9b over the next three years).

"Our primary focus in this programme is a series of targeted investments that will help to address the important challenges New Zealand faces with land transport -- in particular improving the efficiency of key transport routes, improving public transport and easing severe congestion in key urban areas, upgrading important freight and tourism routes, and improving safety and access to markets, employment and areas that contribute to economic growth," Roche said.

The three-year timeframe allowed for investments with a longer-term view, and for local government and the wider land transport sector to plan ahead.

Sixteen regional transport committees and the Auckland Regional Transport Authority (ARTA) were involved in developing the programme.

"This collaborative process has allowed us to build an overview of land transport requirements across New Zealand and to balance regional and national priorities in deciding on the best investment programme to maximise value for money across the country," said Roche.

- NZPA