OVERALL spending on transport will increase 9.7% to R74bn in the 2013-14 financial year, according to the Treasury’s budget review.
The review said the National Development Plan emphasised the need for priority investment in cost-effective freight transport and urban public transport.
This year, it said, investment in new cranes and terminal re-engineering would boost container capacity at Durban by about 21% to 2.89-million 20-foot-equivalent units.
It also said the introduction of a transport regulator would help ensure cost recovery in manner that is fair and competitive for freight customers.
The state-owned Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) was working to improve the quality and capacity of its commuter rail services.
In depth: Budget 2013
Full budget speech
The budget review said transfers from the fiscus totalling R4.2bn had been allocated for this purpose over the next three years, complementing revenue raised from user charges.
“Contract negotiations were in progress and the first coaches will be delivered in 2015,” the review said.
Investments in bus rapid transport systems are continuing in Johannesburg and Cape Town, with Tshwane, Nelson Mandela Bay, Rustenburg and eThekweni expected to begin construction of their networks in 2013.
Last year, the final Gautrain link was completed, which has helped alleviate highway congestion in and around Johannesburg.
The budget review said the South African road network required significant continuing investment to ensure that trade and commuter arteries supported a growing economy and the efficient movement of goods and people.
The South African National Roads Agency, which is responsible for national roads maintenance and upgrades, spent R2.9bn over the medium-term budget expenditure framework period on national road improvements and R2bn on the rehabilitation of coal haulage roads in Mpumalanga.
Provincial spending on roads is expected to total R27.6bn over the medium term.
“User charges raised through toll fees remain an important additional source of funding for national roads,” the budget review stated.
The Airports Company South Africa completed its core capital investment programme in 2011. Its capital expenditure has tapered off to R237m in the first half of the 2012-3 year. This amount covers minor refurbishments, replacements and preparatory work on runways at the Cape Town and East London airports, and on tunnels to remote aircraft stands at OR Tambo airport, the budget review said.