The funding to get the job done
AS AUSTRALIA'S longest bridge took shape over the Macleay River, Federal politics this week debated the best means to achieve the Pacific Highway duplication by 2016.
The final support beam is being put in place on the 3.2 kilometre structure showing the $618 million Kempsey bypass is well on track - a fact that was not lost in the House of Representatives this week.
Following up on the Pacific Highway funding announcement at the Nationals Conference, Cowper MP Luke Hartsuyker said an Abbott Federal Government would spend an extra $4 billion on the highway if elected.
Mr Hartsuyker said the $5.6 billion commitment announced by the Coalition would see the restoration of the 80:20 funding arrangements between the Commonwealth and State governments and ensure the highway was duplicated without needless delays.
"There is a clear choice in the election that is coming up between the Coalition committing $5.6 billion in real money (or) a vote for Labor and the Member for Lyne at the next election is a vote to have $4 billion less committed to the Pacific Highway," Mr Hartsuyker said.
Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese dismissed the Coalition's plan to defer the Parramatta to Epping Rail Link and re-direct the funding to the Pacific Highway.
"There is only $67.9 million available for the Parramatta to Epping Rail Link between now and 2016," Mr Albanese said.
"So they have pushed its completion beyond 2020, and in spite of that, they are still half a billion dollars short because of the failure of the State Government to honour the commitment they made in the 2011 election campaign," he said.