Constituency question - roads and bridges funding
My constituency question is to the Minister for Roads and Road Safety.
Local councils across regional Victoria, including Greater Shepparton City Council and Moira Shire Council in my electorate, have expressed great concern about access to vital ongoing funding for repairs to roads and bridges.
Can the minister urgently provide details as to how and when the $1 billion promised for roads and bridges before the last election will be provided to regional Victoria?
Further, can he guarantee his government will at least match the previous government's promise of $160 million for country roads and bridges?
I am informed that, as at the date the question was raised:
The Victorian Government has guaranteed funding of at least $1 billion over eight years for the upgrade and repair of unsafe and congested roads and rail level crossings across regional Victoria. We recently announced funding of $42.8 million to strengthen 52 bridges primarily on major regional freight corridors and $50 million to increase safety at 52 rail level crossings in regional Victoria. The bridge strengthening works will commence in 2015-16. The 2015-16 Budget also allocates $86.7 million to resurface unsafe, deteriorating roads around the state, so families in metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria can travel safely.
The Federal Government also provides direct funding to local councils for the maintenance of local roads and bridges, under the Roads to Recovery Program and Bridges Renewal Program. The Federal Government recently announced funding of $4.892 million for VicRoads to strengthen bridges on arterial roads and $7.939 million for Victorian Councils to strengthen bridges on local roads under the Bridges Renewal Program. Local Councils can continue to seek funding for local roads and bridges through the next round of the Federal Government's Bridges Renewal Program or through the Roads to Recovery Program.
The Federal Government also provides funding under the Black Spot Program, aimed at improving road safety across the nation. The allocation for Victoria is $36.4 million each year for 2015-16 and also 2016-17, which is $22.8 million higher than the 2014-15 allocation of $13.6 million. The current recommendation, pending approval by the Federal Minister, is that all of the 2015-16 Black Spot Program funding should be allocated to projects on local roads.