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Taskforce questions road cash

An upgraded section of the Pacific Highway at Coffs Harbour.
An upgraded section of the Pacific Highway at Coffs Harbour. RTA/www.conwag.com/external/chhp
MORE money, yes, but from where?

That's the question being asked by the Pacific Highway Taskforce, who has welcomed news of additional funding for the Highway even as they call on the government to outline its future funding commitment in today's State budget.

Taskforce chair, Ernie Bennett, said accelerated funding for the Pacific Highway next financial year is a positive step but it's unclear whether the additional $166 million was brought forward from future commitments.

"Every bit helps but we need a clarification on how the funds affect the future construction task," Cr Bennett said.

State and Federal governments are contributing a combined $1.6 billion to upgrading of the Pacific Highway, with the Federal Government's portion of extra funding coming from a $2.46 billion commitment made under Auslink II.

But Cr Bennett is unsure of the source of funds for the State Government's contribution.

"North Coast communities are awaiting a clarifying statement from the State Government on the extent to which they will match the federal Government's funding commitment," he said.

"We have been waiting patiently for the state government to announce how it will meet its side of the bargain and we are hopeful the state Budget will shed some light."

The Pacific Highway Taskforce membership is made up of more than 18 councils in coastal Northern NSW and the NRMA.

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