Costa rejects bypass plea

By DAWN COHEN

MICHAEL Costa has rejected a personal plea from Ballina mayor Phil Silver to fast-track the Alstonville Bypass after a face to face meeting in Sydney.

Cr Silver had a 45-minute meeting on Wednesday with Mr Costa, the NSW Minister for Roads, Economic Reform and Ports.

Cr Silver initiated the meeting in February, following the Minister's announcement that the Alstonville Bypass was delayed.

"He was well briefed," Cr Silver said yesterday.

"He said the Alstonville Bypass was scheduled for 2006/2007.

"I asked if there was anything we could do to bring it on earlier."

The Minister said no, blaming a dispute between the Federal and the State governments about the timing and nature of payments.

Cr Silver is now approaching Northern Rivers Regional Organisation of Councils (NO- ROC) to host a conference of North Coast Councils formulating a joint response to problems and solutions to the Pacific Highway.

The conference would explore Mr Costa's suggestion of a toll for truck drivers to pay for Pacific Highway upgrades.

Cars would be exempt from tolls and affected parts of the highway would be renamed the Pacific Motorway.



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