CEO NorthChamber (Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Northland Inc)
The Romans (and perhaps the Germans) certainly knew how to build roads, that were not only fit for purpose, but were able to support traffic for millennia.
Our roads on the other hand seem to disintegrate in a matter of months! Is it a matter of them not being built to support the projected axle weights due to cost factors, or have traffic loads built up so quickly that there is a mismatch in the build specification at the date of planning and the loads we see now?
Either way, our road builds are not working and are certainly not giving the utility that was expected.
Assuming it comes back to money, can we not have the traffic causing the issue fund an increase in the build quality? Some would argue that the road user charges levied on heavy vehicles is enough and that it is a case of insufficient funds collected via this tax not coming back to the effected areas (and instead being gobbled up by our bigger cities).
So what options do we have:
- Redirect more funding into effected regions commiserate with the traffic loads on those routes
- Introduce an additional road tax that is expressly for use on the sections of road under pressure and allow for uprated build specifications capable of supporting the exceptional loadings of forestry logistics etc. (a bit like a toll)
- Soldier on and continue to suffer (human carnage, exceptional wear and tear on our vehicles, longer transit times…..)
There is obviously a need and there are a number of solutions, not all of which I have highlighted; can we have a decision please ASAP. I personally feel a combination of 1) and 2) most likely to get us a positive result, although I expect more than a little resistance from some quarters, to which I would respond, “ if you wish to expose infrastructure to extreme usage, be prepared to contribute toward the upgrade of same”.