‘No funds to fix roads’

Fiji Roads Authority CEO Jonathan Moore. Picture: FT FILE

THE Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) says it does not have funding available to rehabilitate roads in the Central Division. In a statement released yesterday, FRA chief executive officer Jonathan Moore said each kilometre of rehabilitated road costs about $1 million.

He said the FRA had previously advised stakeholders and the media that to provide a transportation network that performed to international standards would require an investment of about $4 billion — as a large chunk of this would be for road rehabilitation and reconstruction.

He said this level of funding was simply not available in the short-term and therefore FRA had to plan the rehabilitation work over a period of 15 to 20 years before starting over again because roads that were first rehabilitated would be getting to the end of their expected service lives.

“There have been accusations recorded in the media that FRA is somehow playing a ‘blame game’,” he said.

“What some consider ‘blame’, we consider ‘truth without spin’.

“Over the past year we have tried to explain to the politicians, media and public-alike the reasons for the deplorable condition of the roads in Fiji.

“These explanations have been based on technical evaluations against internationally recognised standards that have led to what we consider to be the previously stated unassailable facts about the highway network over the past 30 to 40 years.

“Throughout this explaining period, the only ‘blame’ we have attributed is in the direction of those that underfunded Public Works Department (PWD) and mismanaged the infrastructure needs of Fiji.”

Mr Moore said it was PWD workers that needed to be embarrassed and ashamed that their actions had resulted in what road users experience today.

“It is also noteworthy that those ‘nay-sayers’ about the work carried out by the FRA have not proposed any alternative process or methodology that will provide the rapid and permanent solutions that seem desperate to promote.

“Fiji does not have an economy that can support rapid recovery from this neglect, it does not have the numbers of resources that would be required to achieve rapid recovery and to attempt rapid recovery (if the funding and resources were available) would result in so much disruption on the transportation network that the country would effectively grind to a halt.”

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