Abbott pledges Highway finished 'within this decade'
TONY Abbott has pledged the Pacific Hwy upgrade will be completed "well within this decade" if the Coalition is elected next year.
The leader of the opposition made this commitment in Coffs Harbour this afternoon at the end of a day spent behind the wheel of a big rig.
Mr Abbott said a Coalition Government would spend $5.6 billion on upgrading a road commonly referred to as the "black ribbon of death" if elected.
This commitment includes $3.56 billion conditionally set aside by the Gillard Government as well as a further $2.08 billion provided by redirecting funds from the Parramatta to Epping rail line.
"We're spending an extra $2billion and ending the blame game which has bedevilled the construction of this highway for far too long," Mr Abbott said.
His first-hand experience driving on the Pacific Hwy moved Mr Abbott to describe the local length of the highway as a 1970s goat track adding: "It's the road between Ballina and Coffs Harbour which is most urgently in need of upgrade".
"A quarter of a million cars and trucks use this road every day. If we can get the road built it will be good for the economy, it will be good for local business, it will be good for local families and it will cut the fatality rate significantly."