RAA welcomes state budget’s investment in rail projects

Need for road maintenance investment highlighted

RAA welcomes state budget’s investment in rail projects

Motor & Fleet

By Roxanne Libatique

The Royal Automobile Association of South Australia (RAA) has responded positively to the state budget’s investment in extending Adelaide’s rail lines and improving the Riverland road network.

However, the association remains concerned about the adequacy of funding for road maintenance.

RAA said the $10 million funding for exploring the extension of the Seaford and Gawler rail lines aligns with its advocacy for better transport infrastructure to accommodate South Australia’s population growth.

Key transport and infrastructure projects funded in the budget include:

  • $20 million to enhance the resilience of the Riverland road network
  • $35 million to improve regional road safety
  • $150 million to upgrade the Mt Barker and Verdun interchanges
  • $200 million for managed motorway components on the South Eastern Freeway
  • continued commitment to completing the North-South Corridor

RAA calls for more investment in road maintenance

RAA CEO Nick Reade acknowledged the importance of these projects, but highlighted the need for more substantial investment in road maintenance to meet acceptable standards.

“RAA welcomes new funding to explore expanding our rail network, which would ensure transport infrastructure can support areas of growing population and ease congestion on our roads,” he said. “The announcement of new funding to safeguard the Riverland road network damaged by the recent floods is also welcome.”

RAA, representing over 820,000 members, had advocated for $1 billion over four years to address the $2 billion road maintenance backlog reported by the Auditor General.

Charles Mountain, RAA senior manager for safety and infrastructure, pointed out that more than 2,500 kilometres of South Australian roads require repair.

“The government is not spending enough to maintain our roads and make them as safe as they should be compared to how quickly they’re deteriorating,” he said. “We’re particularly concerned about the state’s regional road network with no new funding allocated to progress the duplication of the Augusta Highway, or the Sturt and Dukes Highways.”

RAA’s state budget priorities

RAA recently released its state budget priorities, which include:

  • $1 billion over four years to tackle the $2 billion road maintenance backlog
  • progressing the duplication of National Highways in South Australia, including the Augusta, Dukes, and Sturt Highways
  • extending the Seaford line to Aldinga
  • $10 million annual State Bicycle Fund

Reade stressed the urgency of infrastructure funding to repair the existing road network, noting that 20% of the state’s 13,000 kilometres of sealed roads are in the maintenance backlog.

“Quite frankly, the state of our road network is becoming alarming,” he said.

Mountain emphasised the importance of duplicating National Highways to improve road safety and economic productivity.

“Duplicating our national highways is imperative if we are to reach the targets set out in both the national and state road safety strategies,” he said. “We’ve consistently called for duplication of these three SA highways which will improve road safety and boost economic productivity, too.”

RAA slammed the government following the release of the latest federal budget, claiming that South Australia received less favourable treatment.

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