National’s motorways driving local roads into disrepair
23 May 2012 MEDIA STATEMENT
National’s motorways driving local roads
Local roads are falling into disrepair because National is spending so much on its gold-plated motorway projects, says Labour’s Transport spokesperson Phil Twyford.
“The Road Maintenance Task Force has come up with some good ideas on how to maintain the roads more efficiently, but they will need a magic wand if they are to overcome the effects of National’s funding cuts.
“All over the country councils are struggling to maintain local roads because of budget cuts,” Phil Twyford said.
“The Government can’t use the Global Financial Crisis as an excuse. These cuts are a direct result of National pouring billions of dollars – 65 per cent of all state highway funding – into their hand-picked motorway projects.
“As a result, local roads, road safety, other state highway projects, and urban public transport are suffering.
“The Road Maintenance Task Force has made some great suggestions: improved procurement, councils sharing road maintenance operations, asset management plans. These are all welcome but they won’t make up for National squeezing the life out of local authorities ability to maintain the roads.
“I visited the far North recently where the council doesn’t have the cash to repair old one-lane bridges that are under stress from heavy trucks.
“Down South, the Otago Regional Council recently reported it is receiving $3.6 billion less than planned for road maintenance.
“Across the country, National’s funding for local roads maintenance has been flat-lining. In the face of rising costs, and growing numbers of heavy trucks on rural roads, this means real cuts.
“Councils can either get ratepayers to bail out central government and make up the difference, or they can do less. Neither is sustainable over time,” Phil Twyford said.