John Gass

Funding for 'worst road' unlikely

WITH less than two weeks to go until the NSW Government hands down the State Budget, the chance of federal funding finding its way to all corners of the Pacific Hwy duplication is growing slimmer by the day.

The release of an NRMA survey labelling the treacherous highway as the "worst road in the state" this week prompted renewed calls from NSW MPs for Canberra to review it's "all or nothing" promise to inject $3.6 billion into the duplication, should the State Government match the offer.

The stretch of highway at Urunga, south of Coffs Harbour, was voted the "worst black spot" in the state.

Coffs Harbour MP Andrew Fraser said he was still hopeful federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese would agree to an 80/20 funding split.

He said the survey highlighted "what has been known by motorists" for a long time.

He also claimed the $231 million earmarked for the Pacific Hwy in the 2012 Federal Budget was not "new money".

A spokesman for Mr Albanese argued the State Government could access billions in new money, if it would only agree to the 50/50 arrangement.

"If the Coalition decides not to honour its pre-election commitment this will be a lost opportunity to fix this road once and for all," he said

"We remain firm - it's dollar for dollar, nothing more, nothing less."

NRMA Motoring and Services president Wendy Machin said NSW was in urgent need of a plan to fix the highway.

"I don't think anyone would be surprised that the Pacific Hwy has again been voted the state's worst road," Ms Machin said.

"The public won't stomach further delays with finishing the upgrade of the Pacific Hwy and the NRMA again urges the Australian and NSW Governments to work together to meet the 2016 deadline."
 
 


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