Pressure to finish Pacific Highway
A 2016 COMPLETION date for the Pacific Highway upgrade has been set, and Federal Transport and Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese wants the NSW Government to put its shoulder to the wheel.
Mr Albanese visited the Northern Rivers yesterday and brushed aside concerns about a lack of funding to complete the upgrade, highlighting the amount already injected into the project.
The dual carriageway upgrade of the Pacific Highway is a joint Federal-State project which threatens to grind to an uncertain halt due to a lack of long-term funding.
Mr Albanese said it was a Federal Government priority to have the project finished by 2016.
“That is the objective of the national government,” he said.
“We will continue to prioritise this, which is why we have committed $3.1 billion, which compares with the $1.3 billion that was committed by the previous Federal government.
“This is the largest injection into any road by the national government in our history.
“This year we have construction commencing on the Kempsey bypass, on the Woolgoolga upgrade and, of course, work continuing on the largest project, which is the Ballina bypass.”
The NRMA has estimated the cost of completing the upgrade at around $7 billion, but no further funds were allocated in last week’s Federal Budget announcement.
Mr Albanese said he hoped the NSW Governments would step up to provide extra funding.
“I am a strong advocate that state governments need to do their bit,” he said. “I would hope the NSW Government will do more to put their shoulders to the wheel.
“At the moment we don’t have any additional commitments from the Government or the Opposition in NSW, but I hope they give consideration to that in the Budget or in the lead-up to the election.”