AAA Welcomes Infrastructure Boost
Australia's peak motoring body, the Australian Automobile Association, today welcomed the Federal Government's announcement to bring forward more than $700 million in road infrastructure spending to provide an economic stimulus.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Anthony Albanese, today announced the Government would bring forward $711 million to expedite some elements of its Building Australia Program (formerly AusLink 2) for road projects in 2008-09.
The Government has also allocated a further $60 million for road maintenance under its Federal Black Spots program, taking the total funding package from $50 million currently to $110 million this financial year – AAA had advocated such an increase in its 2008 Budget submission.
Other accelerated funding was announced for rail projects to improve the reliability and competitiveness of the nation's rail freight network.
Mr Rudd said the aim of accelerating the commencement of 14 road projects was to provide a financial stimulus to the Australian economy to counter the impact of the global financial crisis.
The funding will go towards four road projects in NSW, four in Victoria, three in Queensland, and one-off projects in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.
AAA Executive Director, Mike Harris, said the funds would not only provide a boost to the Australian economy but would also bring forward some major road infrastructure projects which would ultimately reduce road trauma and save lives.
"AAA and Australia's motoring clubs welcome this announcement in the interests of the economy and the welfare of Australian motorists and road users," he said.
"It means projects set for start up in 2009-10 will now come on stream from the start of the New Year.
"We are particularly pleased with the Government's move to more than double the funding for the Black Spots Program, as these are the sections of road that AAA and the clubs have identified as being the greatest safety threats to motorists and their families."
"And it is good that the funding package will improve transport outcomes by developing an integrated transport network bringing together rail and road hubs."