$432 million to fix local roads on the North Coast
DRIVERLESS transport might not be far off and the North Coast stands out with $432 million for local roads backlog, NRMA has confirmed.
The NRMA Roadshow visited Lismore and asked members what was most important to them through their new strategy which focused on access, a healthy and sustainable community and mobility.
NRMA Director Fiona Simson said issues raised by NRMA North Coast members included growing fuel costs, road safety and local road issues.
"The North Coast is shining for all the wrong reasons in relation to roads," Ms Simson said.
Members were asked to vote on what was most important to them: improving access and affordability to transport and fuel costs; access to employment and healthcare and improving connectivity and growing tourism; or better roads, driver education, safer cars and technology.
NRMA's backlog report for 2015-2016 on the North Coast was outstanding and leading the field in the amount of dollars required to bring roads up to a satisfactory standard.
Out of the $1.9 billion total local roads infrastructure backlog across the state, rural and regional made up $1.5 billion, of which the North Coast made up $432 million.
Ms Simson said although the floods were a large contributing factor, the area is "topping the list" in the amount of dollars that will need to be allocated.
"That's not a super four-lane highway, that's just filling the potholes, getting a reasonable surface on the road, making the edges safe and enough room for cyclists.
"Without some input from other areas - the state and federal governments - then council's wont be able to meet that backlog and it doesn't look like it's going to in the near future," she said.
The Lismore to Bangalow corridor, Oxley Highway, Kyogle Road and Nimbin Road were acknowledged as some of the worst roads waiting for upgrades.
Touching on the regions lack of public transport, Ms Simson said driverless vehicles could be the answer.
"Driver-less vehicles are in operation in NSW, with NRMA trialling the first shuttle in Sydney."
"Those sorts of technologies can offer people hope in these sorts of towns.
"We do need to look at what we can provide, what communities need and focus the resourcing on that, whether its community buses, better access to ubers or taxis, or rail."
Ms Simson also said in regional areas the space to move around is a huge positive, compared to city's the lack of tolls, traffic congestion and journey time.