Tasmania roads spending to decline: Budget

General infrastructure back-up cash available as State sinks deeper into the red

May 23, 2013

As its government plunges towards a record debt, Tasmania is set to lose about one-third of its stated road spending by 2016-17, this year’s Budget papers reveal.

The deficit will be 143 million more than forecast a year ago, at $426 million,

In 2013-14, total roads expenditure is $163.4 million but this will fall to $117 million and $119 million in 2015-16 and 2016-17.

However, the State Government says it has $85 million in reserve over the forward estimates period for general infrastructure projects that pass a review process.

Tasmania will also lose about $1.6 million in registration cash, reflecting the end of one-off Federal funding to assist with transition towards a National Heavy Vehicle Regulator.

A decrease in Infrastructure Strategy spending from $3.1 million to nearly $1.8 million reflects completion of the Road Planning Initiative. This is partially offset in 2013-14 by funding for an additional hard stand development at the Brighton Transport Hub.

The State Government may gain less in fines for overweight vehicles, if the trend of the last two year continues. In 2010-11 and 2011-12, the percentage fell from 4.49 to 4.11, against a target of less than 5 percent.

The Roads Program comprises new works projects and the upgrade and maintenance of established roads.

This includes a State Government allocation of $132.5 million and a Federal allocation of $30.9 million.

The existing five-year roads funding agreement with the Australian Government expires at the end of 2013-14.

Negotiations between the State and Australian Governments are currently underway for a new agreement.

Based on Australian Government road funding provided over the past 10 years, an 'estimated future Australian Government roads funding' allocation of $35 million per annum has been included in the forward estimates "to provide a more accurate estimate of the likely level of infrastructure expenditure", the Budget papers say.

This year’s Budget adds funding of $1.5 million a year for extra road and bridge maintenance.

"The Department will continue to deliver on its commitment for improved transport efficiency together with a focus on public safety by minimising interaction between passenger vehicles and heavy vehicles on key passenger and tourist routes in the north east," the Budget papers say.

Other projects include: Bell Bay Main Road, improved port access near George Town; and Colebrook Main Road, Richmond Heavy Vehicle Link Road.

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