Local Government Association Calls For Better Deal For Motorists
The Local Government Association has claimed that “it is time for a fairer deal” for motorists that pay more than £1,000 per-year to the treasury (on average). Why? Because the Association – that represents more than 370 authorities in England and Wales – has revealed that its members have been receiving less and less government money to maintain the roads. As such, The Highways Maintenance Budget has fallen from £871 million in 2010/2011 to £750 million in 2013/2014. It will now fall further in the next financial year. Despite this, the government will receive £38 billion from motorists in 2013/2014. Revenue streams include vehicle excise duty (tax discs), fuel duty (paid at the fuel pump), and value added tax (paid on fuel at the pump) – all courtesy of the 34.5 million vehicles currently in use. That equates to roughly £1,117 per-unit. More of this money – the Association argues – should be used for the “long overdue” investment in the “crumbling road network”. Councillor Peter Box, Chair of the Association's Economy and Transport Board, added: “councils now need increased and consistent highways funding to invest in the widespread resurfacing projects desperately needed for a long-term improvement”. There must be countless drivers that agree with this statement.
How Roads Are Built And Damaged
Road construction techniques vary according to the volume of traffic they are likely to support. As such, a busy motorway that carries tens of thousands of vehicles per-day needs to be more robust than a residential street. However, a typical process – in very simple terms - involves compressing the earth to create a solid foundation then smothering it with gravel. This is then covered by several layers of asphalt, which a gooey substance derived from crude oil. The asphalt repels a large proportion of the rain water that strikes its surface which then flows into the drains. Local Government/Highways Agency maintenance is required when the surface develops cracks or potholes over a certain size. These can be formed when the surface – which is constantly pounded by cars, heavy goods vehicles, and motorbikes, etc. - begins to let in water. This can then freeze, which causes it to expand and increase the size of any imperfections. Maintenance workers also have to repair damage caused by road traffic accidents, wear and tear, vandalism and freak weather conditions such as extreme heat that melts the road surface.