Richmond Valley Council’s $72.6 million roads plan
RICHMOND Valley Council is preparing tto spend up big on its roads network, approving more than $72.6 million in works over the next four years.
In a statement, council general manager John Walker said the council was struggling with a tight budget but had no choice but to spend the money on roads and bridges now or pay more to fix more badly degraded roads later on.
"There is no such thing as a free road," Mr Walker said.
"Whether they are asphalt or gravel, all roads need to be maintained to an adequate standard.
"The cost of doing nothing is more expensive."
Mr Walker the spending would allow the council to spend more than $15.2 million a year on maintenance with a comparatively modest $3 million a year going to capital improvements.
Richmond Valley's problems with roads funding were widespread, with state and Federal grants that were used to prop up roads budgets too small to cover the cost of the work that needed to be done.
"I have long advocated the development of infrastructure as an important tool in stimulating economic development in our area, as well as a means of improving the quality of life for the residents," Mr Walker said.
"We need to make it a priority to find some way to improve Council's ability to keep our roads and bridges safe and adequate to handle new demands, such as an increase in heavy trucks using the Summerland Way."
Despite its difficulties, Mr Walker has said the council's budget was expected to remain in surplus. That surplus was intended to develop into a cash reserve which could help pay for major infrastructure projects in the future.