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RAA calls for $7.1 billion to save lives and supercharge the economy as federal budget approaches

Wednesday, 20th Mar 2019

RAA is calling on the next federal government to invest billions of dollars in South Australia’s road network to save lives and boost South Australia’s economy, as it unveils seven priorities ahead of this year’s federal budget and election.

As voters prepare to head to the polls, RAA has already gained bi-partisan support for one of its priorities - completion of Adelaide’s North-South Corridor estimated at $2.9 billion.

RAA’s General Manager Government & Public Policy Jayne Flaherty said further long-term investment is urgently needed in other key projects to deliver social and economic benefits for South Australians living in metropolitan and regional areas.

“SA motorists already pay almost $1 billion a year in federal excise and GST on fuel, so it’s only fair that whoever wins the next federal election commits to funding road transport projects for South Australia,’’ Ms Flaherty said.

RAA is urging the next federal government to fund the:

  • staged duplication of Augusta Highway – estimated cost $2 billion
  • staged duplication of Dukes Highway - $2 billion
  • separation of five major roads and interstate rail level crossings at: Cross Road, Kings Park; Torrens Road, Renown Park; Park Terrace, Salisbury; Kings Road, Salisbury Downs; and Cormack Road, Dry Creek - $200 million
  • formally recognise Riddoch Highway in the National Highway Network.

Tragically, SA Police figures show 39 people were killed and more than 870 injured – many seriously - in crashes on the Dukes, Augusta and Riddoch highways, and Adelaide’s North-South Corridor, between 2013 and 2017.

Beyond the untold emotional trauma, RAA estimates the financial cost of this appalling loss of life and injury at $318 million, or $63 million on average every year.

If the government fails to invest in key roads, based on current crash rates for the Augusta and Dukes highways alone, we can expect a further 124 deaths and 1180 injuries at a cost of $962 million over the next 20 years.

Infrastructure investments also yield economic benefits for South Australians.

The completion of the North-South Corridor is forecast to save a combined 40 minutes of travel time during morning and afternoon peak periods between Ashwin Parade and Tonsley Boulevard.

Federal government figures also show the social costs of traffic congestion for Adelaide are estimated to be as high as $1.3 billion in 2018, and set to exceed $2 billion annually in 2027.

“RAA represents the views of more than 738,000 South Australians and we’re calling on the next federal government to do what is right and invest in South Australians’ safety and the economy,’’ Ms Flaherty said.

The importance of transport investment to South Australian voters has been illustrated by a survey of RAA members, who ranked federal funding for transport infrastructure ahead of other priorities including national security and science and innovation.

Most respondents said they would prefer to see transport funding allocated towards expanding the capacity on existing roads, followed by maintenance of existing roads, and identified completing Adelaide’s North-South corridor as the state’s most important federal road infrastructure project.

In addition to infrastructure for South Australia, Ms Flaherty said the next federal government must also adopt all 12 recommendations in the 2018 National Road Safety Strategy Inquiry to stop the carnage on our roads.

“With safety top of mind, we also need the next government to act strategically and provide national leadership on a framework for developing and trialling autonomous vehicles,” she said.

“Autonomous vehicles have the potential to boost safety and reduce road congestion, while enhancing mobility for children, the elderly and people with disabilities, but our progress is stalled by legislation failing to keep pace with technology.

“The time to take action is now. RAA wants to see the government include this much needed funding in its upcoming budget, and these crucial commitments in the opposition’s budget reply.’’

RAA is encouraging voters to join its campaign and tell their local federal candidates which of these transport priorities matter to them.

For more information on how voters can show their support, visit: https://samotor.raa.com.au/fedelection19/

 

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