2019 Roads Congress Profiles – Infrastructure and funding local roads

A truck sprays a road for resurfacing.

How does a council respond when its roads funding budget is halved because of austerity measured imposed by a national government?

Matthew Lugg OBE will explain what happened next when the United Kingdom-based expert speaks at the 2019 National Local Roads and Transport Congress which runs 18-20 November.

It is a great honour to be invited back again by the ALGA to present,” Mr Lugg, the Head of Profession, Local Government, at engineering and design firm WSP said.

“Some of you may remember the presentation I gave in Hobart back in 2012 when I spoke about my secondment to the UK Government to lead the very successful Highways Maintenance Efficiency Programme.

“So, I’m back seven years later and still championing the cause for more investment in local roads, this time through my Presidency of the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation (CIHT) where I’ve been leading a review into the funding of local roads.

“In my first presentation I will describe the current challenges facing UK local highway authorities following eight years of austerity and the impact of some councils having to cut their highways revenue budgets up to 50 percent, and with one council even going bust.”

His presentation will also cover how climate change is resulting in more severe weather that has damaged roads and created what one survey has estimated is a $18 billion backlog of repairs.

Mr Lugg will discuss the importance of local roads both economically and socially, and the fact that “do nothing” is not an option.

“I’ll explain the complexities of how local roads are funded in the UK and how the 153 councils manage and deliver their local highways service,” he said.

“Much of which will be of relevance and interest to how the local road network is managed by local councils in Australia. 

“In my second presentation I will describe in more detail the CIHT Review of Local Roads which I’ve been leading, more specifically what we identified and what we are recommending.

“Clearly the need for increase in funding is crucial which is easily said but where should the extra money come from, and how much is required?”

Mr Lugg will describe what options were considered, and that in determining funding amounts, it is vital to have improved condition data across all highway infrastructure assets.

The ALGA Roads Congress will also feature a presentation on 18 November by Romilly Madew OA, Chief Executive of Infrastructure Australia, who will outline the state of infrastructure in Australia.

Her agency earlier this year released the Australian Infrastructure Audit 2019, a report which for the first time took “a community-centred approach to measuring outcomes across infrastructure planning and delivery – focusing on access, quality and cost,” Ms Madew said in August.

This recognises that although all Australians share a common need for high-quality infrastructure that is accessible and affordable – beyond these high-level outcomes, infrastructure must also respond to local needs”.

Read our other 2019 Roads Congress profiles:

Drones (11 October)

Recycled road surfaces, crumbed rubber, and the circular economy (27 September)