By Ian Barnsley
The Coalition could raise another £1 billion to spend on fixing the roads of England and Wales, if it were to set aside an extra 2p a litre of the fuel duty it receives from the motoring public.
That is the view of the Local Government Association (LGA), an organisation that represents over 370 local authorities.
It believes investing the money would be enough to repair all the potholes on the roads within the next 10 years.
A recent promise of millions of pounds of new funding to improve the condition of the road network is only enough to 'patch up' the system, and well short of the money the councils would need to ensure routes are in a good condition for years to come, the LGA claims.
£12bn needed to repair road network
It says England and Wales need £12 billion to completely repair the road network, and the figure has risen by £1.5 billion in the last 12 months.
This is because of years of underfunding and some particularly cold and wet winters in the last few years.
The government announced in June that it was pumping an extra £168 million into the nation's road infrastructure to make necessary repairs, and that the money would be available to 148 local authorities.
This has been described as the largest investment in the roads since the 1970s, and the Department for Transport expects the money to repair more than three million potholes and crumbling road surfaces.
'Roads in disrepair'
Councils are "trapped in an endless cycle of patching up our deteriorating network", according to the chairman of the LGA's Economy and Transport Board, Councillor Peter Box.
"Our roads are in such disrepair that it will now take more than a decade and £12 billion to bring them up to scratch," he said.
"Tackling this ever-growing national repair bill must be a priority and the government can do this by injecting an extra £1 billion a year into roads maintenance - funded by investing two pence a litre from existing fuel duty.
"Motorists pay billions to the Treasury each year in fuel duty when they fill up their car at the pumps only to then have to drive on roads that are decaying after decades of underfunding.
"They deserve roads fit for the 21st century," Councillor Box said.