Highway funding worries Fraser

PREMIER Morris Iemma is promising an extra $166 million for the Pacific Highway in next week's State budget, but Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser remains sceptical.

In what seems like a win for the Pacific Highway, Mr Iemma yesterday released a statement that said an extra $166 million in funding has been allocated to upgrading NSW's Pacific Highway.

According to the statement, the highway will receive a funding boost of 37 per cent in the 2008/09 budget, bringing its total funding to $613 million for the year.

It also said the 2008/09 Pacific Highway funding includes $558 million to continue construction and planning work, with the remainder to be spent on highway maintenance.

But Mr Fraser was unconvinced.

"Any dollar that is to be spent on the Pacific Highway is absolutely welcome, but I will be looking very carefully at the budget papers next Tuesday," Mr Fraser said.

"The State Government has still not committed to the $2.4 billion Auslink funding that was put into place by Mr Howard and carried on by Mr Rudd.

"I'm very sceptical and I'll be very interested to see the budget papers next week and how he'll be spending the money."

The RTA, when contacted by the Advocate, said they could not detail where funds would be spent until after Mr Iemma and treasurer Michael Costa released the state budget next Tuesday.

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