Billions in backlog to bring NSW up to speed
Federal motoring body NRMA has called on the Coalition Government to address a mound of backlogged road projects in NSW.
It has suggested a fuel excise would be a good way to drum up the much-needed funds.
NRMA's latest 'Funding Local Roads' report says there is $4 billion worth of projects that need to be progressed to bring neglected NSW roads up to scratch.
Figures were compiled from submissions by regional councils, as part of normal annual reporting obligations.
“The NRMA is asking for 50 per cent collected from the fuel excise be allocated back into roads,” NRMA Director Kyle Loades says.
He pointed to a $15 billion pool the Commonwealth currently collects from the fuel excise each year.
“If that happens more of that should go to the local councils who can then in turn invest in local roads and start chipping away at that backlog.”
The 'Funding Local Roads' report shows the regional areas are crying out for help.
The Cessnock region alone has a backlog of $107 million worth of projects, Lake Macquarie $77 million, Maitland almost $52 million and Newcastle $7.
Mr Loades told the ABC that the cash-strapped councils need Federal assistance.
“There's no doubt that unless there is some sort of support it will take decades to upgrade the roads to a standard that they need to be,” he said.
“The real cost is safety and congestion.
“We have a five star road that has just been built in the Hunter Expressway.
“Now we need to make our local roads to be upgraded to five star quality.”
Mayor Ned Mannoun, from the Liverpool shire, has told the Sydney Morning Herald that the council struggles with the legacy of poorly constructed roads, which were built to link various housing commission areas in the nineteen-sixties.
The NRMA says only 10 cents out of the 38 cents per litre petrol tax is returned to road-building, and it wants to see that increased closer to 20 cents per litre.