The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has welcomed a significant increase in funding for two road infrastructure programs that will contribute to greater safety and productivity.
On 19 November, Federal Minister for Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Local Government, Catherine King, announced a doubling of Roads to Recovery funding from $500 million to $1 billion over time, along with an increase in Black Spot funding to $150 million per year.
As part of the funding announcements, the Government will merge the Heavy Vehicle Safety and Productivity Program (HVSPP) and the Bridges Renewal Program (BRP) into a new Safer Local Roads and Infrastructure Program.
The Government claims this will reduce administrative burdens on councils, freeing up their funds for new road safety programs.
Funding for the new program will also gradually increase to $200 million per year, up from the current $150 million annual investment.
VTA CEO, Peter Anderson, said the new funding will go a long way towards ensuring roads are as safe as possible.
“We’re grateful for what is a very substantial reinvestment in our regional roads and bridges nationally, many of which are in varying states of disrepair after fire and flood, and through general wear and tear,” he said.
“The Black Spots program has saved countless lives and the additional investment the Commonwealth has announced can only help to prevent needless tragedy and loss of life on our regional transport networks.
“The transport industry has a natural interest in working with local, state, and federal governments to make the roads safer for all motorists through a combination of driver training and infrastructure repairs and maintenance.”
Since floods last year washed away significant parts of Victoria’s regional transportation network, the VTA has been consistently calling for additional federal and state funding.
“The McIvor, Melba and Midland Highways have yet to fully recover from the floods so we would hope some of this funding can be directed to their full reinstatement, which is necessary for a safe and reliable regional Victorian freight network,” Anderson said.
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