An NRMA report has highlighted a widening gap between road funding and road maintenance, which the motoring group says is around $3.78 billion.
The association is calling on the Federal Government to allocate more fuel excise revenue to road projects, saying up to half of the current 38.1 cents per litre is required to fund the ‘black hole’.
The NRMA says additional funding is required to bring basic council roads up to a ‘satisfactory condition’, which does not include provisions for future improvements.
Around 10 cents of the 38.1 cents per litre motorists currently pay in fuel excise is returned to roads, but the Federal Government outlined its intentions to increase this amount by returning to biannual fuel excise increases in the Federal Budget.
If the plan to increase the fuel excise is passed through the Senate the additional revenue will be tied to new road projects by law, but simple maintenance programs are not expected to benefit from the new tax.
The report (called ‘Funding Local Roads’) contains figures from 152 New South Wales local councils, which claim they collectively need $911 million to fix roads in Sydney and $2.96 billion to fix the state’s regional roads.
Liverpool Council in Sydney’s South-West required the most funding in metropolitan areas at $149.6 million, followed by Ku-Ring-Gai ($110.3 million) and Sutherland ($67.9 million).
Mid-North Coast and North Coast areas combined account for 27.5 percent of the total backlog, while the Greater Taree area has a backlog of $260.1 million.
"Some councils have no choice but to let bad roads get worse; the money is simply not there for them to fix roads within their boundaries," NRMA President Wendy Machin said.
“It's not the local councils who are to blame as the money they're requesting isn't for glitz and glamour. It's for the basics including fixing pot holes, repainting faded lines and guttering.”
Ms Machin said episodes of flooding in rural areas of NSW over recent years has seen some councils allow previously sealed roads to return to dirt, due to a lack of funding.
The report says the NSW road network is around 184,859km in length. Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) is responsible for 18,028km, plus 2,970km of far western rural roads where there is no local council.
The RMS provides funding for councils to maintain 18,257km of roads with state significance, while the remaining 146,000km is managed by local councils.
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