Fuel tax and road-user charges are set to rise as the Government looks for more cash to iron out kinks in commuter rail networks and to fund a "tide" of new highway projects.

Transport Minister Steven Joyce yesterday released the Government Policy Statement on Land Transport Funding 2012 which details plans to invest about $36 billion over the next 10 years in state highways, local roads, public transport road policing and road safety promotion. But the new plan increases spending over the initial three years, beginning in July next year.

Money available for public transport services rises by $140 million to help support the upgrade and expansion of the metro rail systems in Auckland and Wellington.

Funding for new and improved state highways increases by $125 million to further support the state highway improvement programme including the seven Roads of National Significance such as the Puhoi to Wellsford highway.

The Ministry of Transport said that to fund the investment plan, the Government would likely have to increase fuel tax and road-user charges. It said increases of 2 cents a litre next year and 1.5 cents a litre in 2013 were likely. Road user charges for diesel and large vehicles would increase by a similar amount.

Mr Joyce this year cancelled a planned fuel tax increase of 1.5 cents per litre "while economic conditions remain tight".

Yesterday he said the increases had been scheduled, "but they'll be decided whether we proceed with them, closer to the time".

"What you wouldn't see is an inflation increase as well as these projected increases over the next two years."

Mr Joyce said the extra funding for public transport was to resolve some "long standing funding shortfalls in the metro rail area".

That included money towards a "fair track access charge" which the NZ Transport Agency and local authorities will pay KiwiRail. The extra cash was in addition to the $1.6 billion the Government was spending on the development of Auckland's metro rail system.

Meanwhile, the additional money for new state highways was required as road building activity was increasing.

"There's quite a tide of work at the moment. The Victoria Park tunnel was finished faster than expected but we're now heading into these very big projects like Waterview, Tauranga Eastern Link, Waikato expressway and we also want to maintain some of the smaller projects alongside that."

There were no plans at this stage to delay any Auckland projects because of Christchurch quake repair work but "it's always a watching brief".

Repairing Christchurch's land transport network was "a top priority" in the plan. The NZTA will meet 75 per cent of the Christchurch City Council's $300 million to $400 million road repair bill under an emergency funding mechanism but as that spending will be spread over a number of years it is not expected to be a problem for the agency.

The plan drew fire from both Labour and the Greens for being too focused on roads.

"New Zealand needs an integrated transport policy that makes best use of state highways, public transport, rail and shipping, but Steven Joyce can't get his head around more than one part of the equation," Labour transport spokesman Shane Jones said.

Greens transport spokesman Gareth Hughes said the plan in which $26.6 billion was spent on roads and only $5.8 billion on more sustainable alternatives such as train and bus services further locked New Zealand into dependency on oil.