Infrastructure Report Card Highlights Urgent Need For National Roads Corporation
The release today of the Australian Infrastructure Report Card for 2001 highlights the continuing poor state of many of Australia's road and the urgent need for better national planning and management.
The Report Card, prepared by 22 Alliance members representing major independent infrastructure users and providers, produced the following rating for roads -
- National roads C;
- State roads C minus;
- Local roads D.
The report does acknowledge that local roads should improve over the next few years through the Roads to Recovery program, but makes it clear there is an urgent need for improved long-term planning and management of the nation's road infrastructure.
AAA and its constituent Clubs have been calling for a National Roads Corporation for some time to improve the planning and management process. In particular AAA would like to see Governments cooperating with an integrated ten-year planning process tied to a five-year works program.
AAA Executive Director, Lauchlan McIntosh, said the Report Card also highlights the substantial safety and environmental improvements that could be made through better roads.
"According to the Bureau of Transport Economics, 40% of fuel usage in our major cities is caused by congestion. The most effective way to overcome congestion, and therefore fuel use, is through improved road infrastructure and traffic management," Mr. McIntosh said.
"Fast-tracking the construction of roads like the Western Sydney Orbital and the Scoresby Freeway in Melbourne would reduce congestion substantially and in turn improve environmental outcomes.
"In the road safety area, Professor Peter Vulcan, in a study entitled 'Predictions of Australian Road Fatalities for the Year 2010' found that additional blackspot and general road construction funding could potentially reduce the road toll by 450 per annum by 2010.
"Considering that motorists pay far more than the cost of their infrastructure needs in taxation and charges, and in light of the potential savings in road accidents and environmental factors, additional road investment is sound on economic, environmental and human terms.
"AAA would encourage both the Government and the Opposition to view the National Infrastructure Report Card as constructive, and take into account its findings when developing policy for the next election," Mr. McIntosh said.