In a new report, the The National Roads and Motorists’ Association (NRMA) has found a $2.2 billion backlog in funding for NSW councils to maintain the state’s roads. This represents a 14.5 per cent increase over the last twelve months.
The annual report analysed the size of the funding task required from local councils to clear their backlog for road maintenance and repair.
Around 80 per cent of the 184,859km road network across NSW is managed by local councils.
The report found the council backlog has risen to $2.2 billion (from $2 billion in the 2015/16 financial year).
The overwhelming majority of the backlog burden ($1.7 billion) fell to regional councils with geographically larger and less populated areas at particular risk of not meeting their funding needs.
The backlog among Sydney councils grew 42 per cent to $573 million. Councils across west and south-west Sydney saw the majority of this shortfall ($282 million), followed by Sydney central and south ($243 million).
Over the last two years the gap between funding and what councils need to maintain local roads at a safe and satisfactory standard has grown 30 per cent.
The ‘Funding Local Roads’ report provides a number of key recommendations to Government, to help local councils meet their shortfalls.
These recommendations include allocating up to $180 million per annum for five years from the Snowy Hydro Legacy and Regional Growth Funds; reserving between two to five cents per litre of the fuel excise (41.2 cpl) to local roads; and re-categorising strategic roads across regional areas to state roads.
The report has been released to coincide with the launch of The NRMA’s ‘Rate Your Road’ survey, which calls on members and the community to rate their local roads and public transport.
This survey allows the public to take part in the election process by speaking out on local roads and public transport – good and bad.
The results will be collated over the coming weeks and released prior to the 23 March NSW State Election.
The NRMA will also use the data as a resource when lobbying the NSW and Australian Governments for road and public transport funding priorities.
NRMA Group CEO, Rohan Lund, said the organisation was focused on making roads and public transport infrastructure funding an election priority and was calling on the community to have their say about what needed to be done at a local level to keep the state moving.
“We have made significant inroads into improving the road network in recent years and seen record budgets from the NSW Government however it is clear that we still have work to do – that’s why we’ve launched Rate Your Road,” Mr Lund said.