RAC calls on government to fund regional road package

Photo: Bunbury Mail.
Photo: Bunbury Mail.

The state's peak automobile insurance organisation has called on the state and federal government to finance a $900 million Regional Road Safety Package in next year's budget.

The call comes after the latest Road Safety Commission data revealed that 166 people lost their lives on WA's roads in 2019 and 60 per cent of the fatalities occurred on regional roads.

Twenty-four of the 99 deaths on regional roads last year were in the state's South-West.

RAC Corporate Affairs general manager Will Golsby said the $900 million road improvement package would accelerate crucial upgrades.

"Deaths on our roads are more than just numbers - we must remember these are real people with families and friends who are suffering, and still learning to cope with the sudden loss of a loved one," he said.

"Last year was one of our worst in recent years for road fatalities.

"Our regional communities are hurting - just 20 per cent of WA's population live in our regional areas yet this is where most of our fatalities occur."

Mr Golsby said the low-cost road improvements would reduce road trauma by 60 per cent and prevent more than 2,100 serious crashes over the next decade.

WA Transport Minister Rita Saffioti said the state government would continue to invest in new road projects to work Towards Zero in 2020.

"We remain focused on reducing road trauma and have embarked on a multi-faceted approach involving better education, more surveillance and an unprecedented level of investment in road infrastructure," she said.

"This is particularly evident in the regions where more than $2 billion is being invested new road projects and improving existing roads that were neglected under the previous government.

"The regional run-off program was designed and modeled by the state government last year and we have dedicated $20 million a year towards it.

"We wrote to the federal government last year seeking the remaining funding for the program."

The state government called for the $1.2 billion the federal government reserved for the flawed Perth Freight Link to be reallocated to the Towards Zero project.