AAA launches advocacy campaign for stronger investment in roads

Date: Apr 22, 2013

With September's election drawing ever closer, a new national campaign seeks to advocate for greater investment in transport infrastructure.

'Demand Better Roads', launched yesterday (April 21) by the Australian Automobile Association (AAA), identifies several projects over the next decade that could ease congestion and improve highway quality and safety.

The campaign will include advocacy and advertisements leading up to the election, but in the meantime organisers have established a website where they list priority projects for each state.

For New South Wales, the listed priorities are the WestConnex ($13.5 billion), Pacific Highway ($6.4 billion), F3 Freeway to Sydney Orbital ($6 billion), Princes Highway ($6 billion) and Newell Highway ($5 billion) projects.

Also on the website are a list of policy priorities for 'Solutions for better roads', 'Action for road safety', and 'Protecting motorists' rights'.

Under road safety, the AAA advocates for an extension to the federal government's funding support for the ANCAP vehicle safety rating system.

It also calls for policies that address ways to lower the numbers of pedestrian and cycle deaths on the road, and the number of children struck by vehicles in driveways.

AAA president Ross Herron said that Australia's motoring clubs represent more than seven million members – a big block of voters that politicians can't afford to ignore.

He said that it was becoming clear that many of the nation's roads simply weren't coping.

"We need stronger investment and new approaches to funding for roads and other crucial land transport infrastructure to combat growing congestion in our cities and to provide safer roads in the regions," said Mr Herron.

The total projected cost of the projects given priority by the campaign is more than $100 billion.

AAA executive director Andrew McKellar says that such a significant investment would require involvement and contributions from all levels of government and new approaches to generating funding from other sources.

However, the financial savings that could be made as a result of the investment were potentially significant also.

"Road trauma is estimated to cost the community a staggering $27 billion a year," said Mr McKellar.

"With a targeted approach to funding road safety improvements, we can improve the quality of our roads and drastically cut the human and economic costs of road crashes."

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