Budget fast-tracks rail spending

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Cape Town - Government plans to increase spending on the country's rail infrastructure by 20 percent a year, according to the 2014 Budget tabled on Wednesday.

This will allow the Passenger Rail Agency of SA (Prasa) to forge ahead with plans to buy new trains, build depots and upgrade signalling infrastructure, despite the weaker rand driving up costs.

According to the 2014 Estimates of National Expenditure, Cabinet has approved additional allocations of more than R300 million a year, “which are to be used to offset the effect of foreign exchange rate fluctuations on the agency's new rolling stock programme”.

Treasury says it has reprioritised R650m in the transport budget in this financial year, to cover the operational shortfall for Prasa's Shosholoza Meyl long-distance passenger service.

According to the budget, spending on roads will increase by some seven percent a year.


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