APESMA has welcomed a $45 million patch to road maintenance in Victoria, after publicly condemning the Baillieu government cuts that slashed maintenance operations earlier this year.
“Roads engineers have been saying to government for years that there is desperate need for greater investment in road maintenance – to ensure the safety of the network and to keep long-term expenditure as low as possible,” said Bede Payne Victorian Director of APESMA.
“As a matter of priority, APESMA has been lobbying on behalf of roads engineers and the community, about the impacts of reduced road maintenance since the budget cuts,” Mr Payne said.
“While APESMA welcomes this $45 million response from Minister Terry Mulder, there is a lot more that needs to be done.”
“Unless the community is happy to have more potholes and more dangerous roads, the Baillieu Government needs to do a lot more,” Mr Payne said.
In the year to June, VicRoads resurfaced 12.7 million square metres of road across the state. However, after budget cuts in August the organisation expected to only be able to resurface 5.1 million square metres of roads – or 60 per cent less – in this financial year.
“Engineers at VicRoads have been extremely frustrated by the reduction of maintenance funding. They know that less funding means that roads get patched, rather than resurfaced. And they know that patched roads are far more vulnerable to damage and deterioration than properly surfaced roads,” Mr Payne said.
“The government needs to listen to the advice of its engineers, they are the experts who know how to maintain and fix the road network.”
Mr Payne said that APESMA will continue to push for more funding as road maintenance was an issue that affected the whole community and the economy.
“APESMA will watch with interest the geographical distribution of this spend. We firmly believe that money needs to go the worst roads in the state, rather than roads in politically sensitive areas.”
APESMA media commentary on roads funding in Victoria
Road repairs and safety under threat, Adam Carey, The Age, 6 November 2012.
Grand prix fans at risk on damaged roads , Adam Carey, The Age, 24 October 2012.
Warning: bumpy roads ahead , Clay Lucas, The Age, 20 August 2012.