By ZOE SATHERLEY
STOPPING the Pacific Highway upgrade because it would destroy people's lifestyle and the amenity of the Far North Coast was 'the silliest argument I ever heard', Bernard Salt said yesterday.
He said the upgrade was an essential element for the region's future growth and prosperity.
"It is far more efficient to concentrate traffic to just one ribbon of highway as has been done successfully all over the world," he said.
"What Australia needs is a European-style highway linking Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane and the Pacific Highway upgrade along the existing route is very much part of that."
Mr Salt said a local commuter rail service on the Casino to Murwillumbah branch line would be a welcome addition to transport for the region and it would escalate growth even further than his current predictions.
However he said he did not think such a link would open before about 2031 when population pressures would make it a necessity.
Newrybar's Tony Gilding, who has been a leading name in the fight against the RTA's new routes for an upgrade of the Pacific Highway to a motorway yesterday said he agreed with Mr Salt's assessment of the highway situation on the North Coast.
"We agree that an upgraded Pacific Highway is absolutely essential," Mr Gilding said.
"We wish the government would get along and do it."