Public transport infrastructure spending would remain a “high priority” for government over the medium term, with investment in urban transport systems to “gain impetus”.

The National Treasury said in its Medium Term Budget Policy Statement that the R25,6-billion Gautrain link between the OR Tambo International Airport and Tshwane would be completed by the end of 2010.

Gauteng was expected to receive a conditional R4,2-billion loan over the three years for the province’s contribution to the Gautrain project.

Some R3,27-billion was being spent on the project during 2008/9. About R2,61-billion would be spent on the project in 2009/10, followed by R341-million in 2010/11.

Meanwhile, the National Treasury noted that the construction of Gauteng’s improved road network, the Gauteng Freeway Improvement project, had begun, while the taxi recapitalisation programme was under way and bus rapid-transit networks were being developed for a number of metropolitan commuter routes.

The coal haulage road network, in Mpumalanga province, and regional roads in the Lephalale district, where one of Eskom’s new coal-fired power stations is being constructed, will be supported from the national budget.

Further, the consolidation of passenger rail service institutions into the South African Rail Commuter Corporation (SARCC) will be completed during 2008/9, while the corporation had also increased its upgrading and maintenance programmes.

The SARCC’s total rolling stock of coaches now stood at 3 500, compared with the 3 060 in 2006.

Meanwhile, Transnet would also be spending R80-billion in capital expenditure on its ports, port operations and its freight rail network over the next five years.