The Local Government Association (LGA) has warned that the cost of repairing potholes and other problems with British roads could cost £14bn over the next two years.
Last year, the budget for highways spending for all local authorities in England was £4.4 bn.
According to Asphalt Industry Alliance (AIA) statistics, the amount needed to repair roads has increased to £11.8bn in 2016, from £9.8bn in 2012.
The LGA has called on government to raise the extra cash by investing two pence per litre on fuel into road maintenance budgets. This would raise the extra £1bn a year needed to keep the roads at a useable level. Pump prices would not have to increase.
Martin Tett, LGA transport spokesman, said, “This year could be a tipping point year regarding potholes.
“Councils have experienced significant budget reductions and now face the looming prospect of a bill of £14 billion to bring the nation’s roads up to scratch.
“It is wrong and unfair that the Government allocates almost 40 times more to maintaining national roads, which it controls, compared with local roads, which are overseen by councils. It is paramount this funding discrepancy is swiftly plugged.”
Funding cuts have seen councils in England trapped in a “frustrating cycle” as they are only able to “patch up” roads, he added.
Alan Mackenzie, AIA chairman, said, “Prolonged under-investment, coupled with wetter winters, increased traffic and an ageing network, means that the resilience of our local roads is at a low point.”
Steve Gooding of the RAC said, “Our roads are a national asset and as much a vital utility as the energy, water and telecoms networks. We need to ensure they are treated with the same importance.”
Last year councils repaired on average one pothole every fifteen seconds.
A DfT spokesman said, “It is vital councils keep our roads in a good condition to deliver better journeys for drivers.”