Fraser backs rail over highway
NATIONALS Member for Coffs Harbour, Andrew Fraser, has backed the NSW government decision to prioritise funding for Sydney's north west rail link rather than switch the money to complete the Pacific Highway upgrade.
With $3.5 billion committed to the city project despite the objections of Infrastructure Australia and the shock announcement Premier Barry O'Farrell had back-flipped on a promise to take the rail link directly into the city, the local member has thrown responsibility back on the Federal Labor Government and key independent Rob Oakeshott.
Speaking to ABC Mid North Coast, Mr Fraser challenged those parties to instead hand over $2 billion set aside for another Sydney scheme.
"The Federal Government if they wish to buy into this - or Mr Oakeshott wishes to buy into this - should press for the $2 billion that's sitting there doing nothing for the Parramatta to Epping rail link which no-one wants," he said.
"That should be re-allocated to the Pacific Highway and basically then that will be $200 - $300 million short of completing the task."
Last month's NSW budget allocated $9 billion to Sydney transport projects leaving the Coalition's pre-election promise of upgrading the full length of the Pacific Highway to dual carriageway by 2016 up in the air.
However Independent Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott secured a commitment from Federal Labor Minister Anthony Albanese to quarantine a record $3.56 billion from the Commonwealth budget that could be handed over for the upgrade if the state government had a change of heart.
"It's one thing to fight for funding you know is needed to complete the highway upgrade but it's another thing altogether to have secured the largest ever allocation to a state road project and then see it jeopardised by some sort of political game," Mr Oakeshott said.