Lismore councillor warns we face roadworks funding crisis
By ZOE SATHERLEY
LISMORE City Council needs to find $50 million to bring its local road network to a satisfactory level, Cr David Tomlinson said yesterday.
He said surveys of residents had repeatedly identified roads as the first priority for the council.
Roads also rated at the bottom of the list in terms of resident satisfaction, he said.
On his return from a Sydney local roads crisis summit, Cr Tomlinson has warned our local roads, like many across the State, are 'dangerously under-funded'.
He said this was a major finding of a report by the NSW Roads and Transport Directorate.
The report, the result of a survey of NSW councils, found that state-wide spending needs to double to $790 million a year to bring the local road network to a satisfactory level.
This represents a 100 per cent increase on what is now being spent, Cr Tomlinson said.
Local roads are those that are the responsibility of local government.
Cr Tomlinson said the report also revealed the NSW road network was rapidly ageing and that funding in the future would need to be increased even more significantly as more and more roads failed and needed to be rebuilt.
Cr Tomlinson, chair of Lismore City Council's Road Policy Advisory Group, said the survey results reflected a crisis in road funding that had existed for many years.
"The survey shows that NSW local roads are steadily deteriorating and that urgent action needs to be taken by all levels of government to rebuild this vital infrastructure," he said.
"We are squandering the legacy left to us by previous generations and we are placing a heavy burden on our children.
"In short, we are effectively consuming our road network faster than we are replacing it.
"While the Federal Government has provided some funding through the Roads to Recovery Program, more is needed.
"The survey indicates the Federal Government is working from figures that substantially underestimate the problem and this needs to be corrected as soon as possi- ble."