Road funds to save lives with broader base
The Federal Government has made it easier for councils to access funds from a $200 million pool for road safety projects.
It is expanding the eligibility criteria for the national Black Spot Programme, to make it easier for regional communities to fix their roads.
Recent promises indicate funding for the Black Spot Programme will increase to $160 million a year from 2015, and that at least 50 per cent of will be dedicated to fixing roads in regional Australia.
This could be considered an appropriate slice, as more than 60 per cent of road deaths and 35 per cent of serious injuries occur outside of major population areas.
Under new rules, the minimum required benefit:cost ratio for funded projects will be reduced from 2:1 to 1:1, so that more projects are eligible.
The crash history requirement for black spots will also be reduced from three to two casualty crashes in five years.
The changes are meant to ensure infrastructure is safe but also economically productive
The government says that the program will now help to address the increased risks motorists face on regional roads, where the per capita risk of death or hospitalisation following a crash is significantly higher than urban areas.
Black Spot Programme Consultative Panels are already established in each state and territory to independently consider and prioritise nominated sites for funding.
Panels can direct up to 40 per cent of programme funding to fixing Black Spots that do not meet the crash history criterion, provided they have undergone an independent safety audit.
Where there is a known crash history, anyone can nominate a black spot in their area for funding by visiting this page.