AAA Welcomes New AusLink Funds
The Australian Automobile Association welcomes the news that the Federal Government is considering an increase in road funding of some $19 billion for AusLink II – the next phase of the 5-year AusLink program.
Commenting on the news, AAA’s Director of Research & Policy, John Metcalfe, said the increase is in line with what AAA had proposed in its 2007-08 Budget submission.
“This increase will go a long way towards lifting road funding from an equivalent of around 7 cpl of the 38cpl fuel excise to 12 cpl in order to meet demand on the network and, in particular, to improve the safety of the network,” Mr Metcalfe said.
“There are an enormous number of projects crying out for funding that we identified in our pre-budget submission to the Federal Government. These include:
- Melbourne’s Ring Road at an estimated cost of $3 billion;
- Shepparton (Vic) by-pass at an estimate of $350 million;
- An upgrade of the full length of the Ipswich motorway (Qld);
- Improvements to the Bruce Highway (Qld) south of Gympie;
- Complete the four-lane divided Pacific Highway carriageway from Hexham to the Queensland border;
- Construct Sydney’s M2/M7 motorway link to the F3;
- Dukes Highway (SA) duplication estimated at $600m;
- Princes Highway (SA) duplication estimated at $670 million.
“This is just the tip of the iceberg. There are considerably more projects that should be seen as an investment in Australia’s competitiveness - not simply as a bottom-line cost.
“This investment will save lives – 5 people die every day on Australia’s roads – and reduce the financial call on the health and social welfare sectors of the economy. In the next Budget, AAA would also like to see a doubling of Black Spot funding and some specific road safety funding added to existing AusLink programs.
“Roads are more important in road safety than most people think. Unfortunately, only half of the existing network is rated 3 stars, which is unacceptable.”
See www.ausrap.org for star ratings of the AusLink network.