NSW councils could be looking for a spare $2 billion to get roads across the state up to scratch.
The NRMA have published their annual Funding Local Roads report which estimates a $1.5 billion cash injection is needed for regional and rural NSW alone.
NRMA Regional Director Fiona Simson said a deteriorating road network meant longer travel times, unsafe roads and lost economic productivity.
“Local councils have a tough job maintaining local roads, with insufficient funds to cover basic road maintenance such as fixing potholes, gutter repair and repainting faded lines,” Ms Simson said.
The backlog is even more severe in regional NSW, with the regional council deficit rising 17.2% from $1.33 billion in 2014-15 to $1.56 billion in 2015-16.
Ms Simson said three quarters of road trauma across the state occurred on non-city roads – and highlighted the need for ongoing upkeep.
“The lack of an effective long term solution will mean a worsening NSW local and regional road network, with road safety being a significant concern,” Ms Simson said.
“Increasing local roads funding will benefit the broader community, as crashes on local roads represent 75% of the $7.1 billion annual cost of crashes to the NSW economy.”
Over 80% of Australia’s roads are maintained by local councils, with many struggling to fund the work.
The report identifies an increased maintenance backlog across NSW councils, with a 13.2% rise in the backlog deficit between 2014-15 and 2015-16.