AAA Welcomes Boost to Road Funding
The Australian Automobile Association – Australia’s peak motoring organisation – tonight welcomed the Federal Budget announcement of $22.3 billion funding through AusLink 2 to upgrade Australia’s road network.
AAA said the funding, which covers 2009-10 to 2013-14, was a good mix aimed at ensuring the national network meets the demands of Australia’s growing passenger vehicle and road freight fleets as well as economic growth.
AAA Director of Research and Policy, John Metcalfe, said the $22.3 billion investment in roads went a long way towards the motoring clubs’ long-term calls for government to return 12 cents from the 38 cents per litre fuel excise into infrastructure.
Mr Metcalfe said there were real economic benefits from road investment – for every $1 invested, the economy reaps a return of up to $5 (CEDA Infrastructure Report, 2005).
“This 41 per cent increase in funding over AusLink 1 is a large fillip and one which targets those sections of road which have a history of road crashes through black spots and strategic regional programs – AAA does note, however, that we believe more could be spent on black spots and had called for funding to be increased to $100 million a year,” he said.
“It is also pleasing that funds will be directed towards new technologies and traffic management systems, which should play a role in addressing growing costs of congestion.
“This significant investment will allow AAA and the constituent motoring clubs - who represent the interests of 6.5 million motorists, their families and all road users - to focus its important advocacy role on other vital elements of road safety such as safer vehicles, driver training and environmental issues.
“It should never be forgotten that five people die every day on our roads - the economic cost of road trauma is estimated at $17 billion in 2006 (Australian Centre for Economic Research on Health, University of Queensland) – this is a massive human and economic cost and safer roads will help to bring that fatality rate down.”