South Australia under-spending on road repairs

In Featured Home Page News, South Australia

SOUTH Australia has the worst road-maintenance program in the country and governments must commit more funds to the deteriorating transport network, the South Australian Freight Council says.

Council chief executive Neil Murphy said SA spent just $79 per person on road maintenance each year when it should be spending $320 per person. The national average was $280.

He said it cost the state significantly in the long run because, rather than maintaining roads at a cheaper cost, it would have to build new roads more frequently.

“Poorly maintained roads cost money in operating costs, it costs us more to maintain our trucks, there’s safety questions,” he said.

“The road also has a greater impact on the people around it. You get more noise coming from the roads. Ultimately, if you don’t maintain it now, the bill in the longer run is bigger.”

In its Moving Freight report, released today, the council calls for an accelerated program of road maintenance to alleviate the shortfall that has increased from the State Government’s estimate of $160 million in 2003 to more than $250 million today.

It says poorly maintained roads have significant economic, social and environmental costs, such as:

INCREASED vehicle operating costs and longer travel times.

INCREASED road maintenance expenditure.

REDUCED safety.

REDUCED satisfaction of users with the quality of their ride.

REDUCED trade and tourism.

INTENSIFIED vehicle impacts on the community and the environment.

RAA senior road safety manger Charles Mountain said increasing road maintenance was important because not only would it deal with some of the shortfalls in the current system, it would make the current system more reliable.

Transport Minister Patrick Conlon said the State Government shared the council’s objectives and remained committed to investing in infrastructure that benefited the economy.

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