Federal Government's AusLink Plan Needs $2 Billion for Road Investment
“AusLink will not work effectively unless it comes with at least another $2 billion funding investment boost for road transport infrastructure, including funds for both maintenance and new capital works” said Lauchlan McIntosh, Executive Director of the Australian Automobile Association, speaking at the Smart Traffic Conference in Parramatta today.
”It’s 18 months since the Government released its Green Paper AusLink, ‘Towards the National Land Transport Plan’ which promises new directions for national transport management” said Mr McIntosh.
Mr McIntosh was speaking on new approaches to traffic management commenting that improving safety of traffic was often overlooked in the debate on road funding which focused on reducing congestion.
“Motorists paid high levels of taxation which more than covered road use, safety, congestion and environmental costs but real investment in road infrastructure nationally was not keeping pace with taxes collected.
“Over 2,500 people have died on Australian roads in the past 18 months since the Green Paper was released. That’s equivalent to 5 people per day. Thousands have been injured. We would not tolerate such trauma in the workplace or anywhere else in the community” he said.
AAA is hoping that the forthcoming AusLink White Paper, to be released in early June, and the Federal Budget, to be delivered on 11 May, will propose mechanisms and further investments which will help to address the carnage on our roads.
The AAA had welcomed the additional funding and the extension of the Roads to Recovery Program which was announced by the Federal Government, as a down payment on AusLink, in January 2004.
“We have a national target to save 700 lives in road crashes by 2010, and research clearly shows that better highways and roads will save lives, improve traffic and save the community more than the actual cost of the works.
“Let’s hope that the May Budget and AusLink demonstrate that the Federal Government’s investments will include a vision to save lives and reduce injury”; said Mr McIntosh.