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Push for better deal for motorists

Fix it again, Pollies: The Australian Automobile Association has listed road projects that it says are a top priority for easing congestion and improving safety.

Key automotive body mounts case for more federal road funding with election in sight

22 Apr 2013

AN AUTOMOTIVE lobby group has called on the federal government to dramatically increase road spending to reduce congestion and road trauma.

The Australian Automotive Association announced yesterday that it has launched a major campaign ahead of September’s federal election to highlight “the need for stronger investment in roads and to seek a better deal for motorists”.

The AAA said the Demand Better Roads campaign would highlight known transport bottlenecks and call for a decade-long, $100 billion project to fix them and “improve the safety and quality of our national highways”.

“Combined, Australia's motoring clubs represent more than seven million members. That's a huge slice of the electorate and it's a force that is too large for the politicians in Canberra to ignore,” AAA president Ross Herron said in a statement.

“It is becoming increasingly clear that many of our roads are not coping. We need stronger investment and new approaches to funding for roads and other crucial land transport infrastructure to combat growing congestion in our cities and to provide safer roads in the regions,” Mr Herron said.

Projects the AAA lists as a priority include $12 billion for Melbourne’s metropolitan train tunnel, $13.5 billion for the extension of Sydney’s M4 and duplication of the M5 East, and $11 billion to upgrade Queensland’s Bruce Highway over all six of its sections.

AAA executive director Andrew McKellar said road trauma was estimated to cost Australia about $27 billion a year.

“This is more than a wish list. These projects have been identified because they will have the greatest impact in terms of improving safety or easing congestion,” Mr McKellar said.

“We will need strong leadership and an effective long-term plan. Given the size of this investment, it is going to require a significant contribution from all levels of government and a more effective approach to attract other sources of funding,” he said.

The AAA has launched a website at www.demandbetterroads.com.au to spell out its campaign and show what it says are the policy differences between Labour, the coalition and the Greens.

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