Outrage for tollway



STEVE Moody is outraged the Federal and State road ministers are even considering a tollway to speed up the Pacific Highway upgrade.

On Friday, Federal Roads Minister Jim Lloyd and State Roads Minister Joe Tripodi signed a joint Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), which identified roads to be included in a program of works between 2006 and 2009.

The MoU will see the Sapphire to Woolgoolga Pacific Highway upgrade fast-tracked, and includes the Bonville deviation. But one op-ion for speeding the process is a toll.

"I think the Memorandum of Understanding is a move in the right direction," Mr Moody, technical officer for the Bypass Action Network and Woolgoolga Area Residents Group, said.

"But I'm concerned about the concept of using a tollway and charging for the existing upgrade of the Pacific Highway.

"Look at the amount of road-related taxes taken by both levels of government. Every dollar collected should go back into roads.

"We've got a Federal Treasurer bragging about a record surplus. Of course you can brag, if you're not spending it.

"Meanwhile our hospitals and roads are crying out for funds."

Mr Moody said the only tollway BAN and WAR would ever support would be for a 'proper new motorway alignment'.

"Most motorists would be happy to pay a toll on a proper motorway because of the time it would save," he said.

"But that's a major project that requires proper planning, and that planning should start now.

"Meanwhile, let's get those road dollars back into the roads."

Nationals member for Coffs Harbour Andrew Fraser was also concerned.

"The announcement by the Ministers did not enunciate whether or not the sections of highway would be tolled on completion of each section, or collectively, or individually," he said.

Mr Fraser said that should the chosen option be a tolled motorway, the ministers should guarantee local residents would be given exemptions.



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