Risky regional roads simply must be fixed for safety sake

Attention focussed on Victoria's decaying road network

Opinion
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It's no surprise that those living in our regional areas are overrepresented in our state's road toll

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RECENT discussions by the RACV and some regional road safety experts on the state of our country roads has rightly shone attention on the decaying road network that we in the country have to deal with.

Tragically, it's no surprise that those living in our regional areas are overrepresented in our state's road toll and I'm sure we all agree something needs to be done.

But calls to lower speed limits on roads that are deemed too dangerous to travel at current speeds are misguided.

Decision makers must simply find the money needed to fix and upgrade our crumbling regional road network. Anything less is a band-aid solution that inevitably will leave us in the same situation in years to come.

As much as the issue focuses on safety, we also need to take into account the impact lowering speed limits would have in our regional areas.

It would no doubt have a negative impact on the rural communities who rely on the road networks, adding significant additional travel time for rural drivers and increasing the risk of fatigue.

We need a solid commitment from the Victorian Government to significantly increase funding for both arterial and local road maintenance to address the deteriorating state of Victoria's regional roads network.

The VFF has been calling for $650 million in the upcoming Victorian Budget over the next four years for regional road asset maintenance and a further $200 million to reintroduce the Fixing Country Roads Program.

It all comes back to adequate funding and that's why in the lead-up to next month's State Budget the VFF will keep calling for a significant increase in funding for both arterial and local road maintenance. It's time the state of regional roads was recognised and the deteriorating network fixed.

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