By Julian Bajkowski
The Australian Local Government Association’s National Local Roads and Transport Congress in Hobart will double-up as an election venue for a new leader after former Queensland local government head Paul Bell threw his hat in the ring for the presidency.
An announcement on who has won the presidential race is expected by Wednesday following discussions over road funding and transport management.
ALGA has said it will publish an audit of roads, dubbed the “National State of the Assets Report 2012” to gauge whether funding models are sustainable and community needs being met.
The new report follows on from a 2010 assessment by PricewaterhouseCoopers that warned that current levels of federal roads spending had to increase by at least $1.2 billion a year to avoid local roads falling apart.
It is expected that an road infrastructure backlog will grow sizably from the last estimate of $14.6 billion in 2010.
One solution that councils have been pushing for is the introduction of Heavy Vehicle Charging, which extract funds based on the weight and distance that destructive heavy vehicles cover.
Heavy vehicle charging is commonplace overseas and acts to compensate areas directly based on where heavy vehicles travel.
However the regime has not always been popular with the trucking industry that is under increased financial pressure because of a combination of high fuel prices and lower prices from customers.
The cross jurisdictional Standing Committee of Transport and Infrastructure late last week announced that it would invite a trucking industry representative onto the board that steers the Heavy Vehicle Charging and Investment (HVCI), a substantial concession to truckies.
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