Lack of investment takes toll on SA roads

South Australian motoring group RAA wants to see a greater share of the fuel tax poured back into road infrastructure

By Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi | November 7, 2013

South Australian motoring group RAA wants to see a greater share of the fuel tax poured back into road infrastructure that is under constant pressure from grain trucks.

RAA Road Safety Senior Manager Charles Mountain says around $1.37 billion is collected from the State by the Federal Government in fuel excise but only about $180 million is put back into the transport system.

He wants the figure to double, saying roads in rural areas need urgent attention.

"A lot of the rural highways in particular are suffering from a general lack of maintenance and with the grain harvest and increased heavy vehicle traffic flow that will exacerbate some of the issues," Mountain told a local radio station.

"We’d like to see more money spent on things such as shoulder sealing, removal of roadside hazards and provision of overtaking lanes.

South Australian MP for Goyder Steven Griffiths says roads that were initially built for lighter trucks need updating to accommodate heavier loads.
"We have a lot of shoulders that suffer from that," Griffiths says.

"Farming operations now have much bigger trucks so it’s become a challenge for the State Government and local government to ensure that the road network is there.

"The extreme of heat of weather and effect of tyres on the road make an impact. It’s a very hard balance to find and how do we ensure we give our industry the infrastructure it needs."

South Australia Road Transport Association (SARTA) Executive Director Steve Shearer says the State’s road maintenance backlog is about $500 million.

"How about we just start funding roads for the life of the road and we increase the maintenance and over the next 10 to 15 years we might actually catch up?" Shearer says.

"Let’s cut this blame game because we need those roads to work effectively. The real rub is politicians don’t see an electoral return for maintaining roads because people won’t notice.

"We say, if it floats your boat then put up a sign saying we maintained this road. In our view that would be annoying but a small price to pay."

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