How we’ll fix the Coast’s M1 gridlock
A FEDERAL Minister has yanked a handbrake on Labor's proposed big bucks fix for the congested Gold Coast's Pacific Motorway hours after it was unveiled.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, on the Gold Coast yesterday for the first time in the election campaign, revealed Labor would commit $206 million to a major M1 upgrade to ease congestion between Varsity Lakes and Tugun.
Ms Palaszczuk said the $206m was its 20 per cent share of a $1 billion bill for widening the 10km stretch to three lanes in both directions.
Work could start in 2020 with Federal Government assistance - and her Labor Government would "continue to take the fight to Canberra to secure a fair share of funding for the M1".
But last night Federal Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher told the Bulletin: "The Commonwealth has not received a business case or a request for funding.
"Once again Queensland Labor are seeking to paper over their financial incompetence by proposing the Commonwealth pay 80 per cent of the upgrades to the M1 which is completely inconsistent with the 50:50 funding share on successive M1 projects over the last decade."
Ms Palaszczuk admitted during her M1 announcement, talks had not been held yet with Federal Government about the other 80 per cent - or $800 million - required.
"We continue to talk to Federal Government on a range of issues - this is our new announcement today and I'm quite sure (Main Roads) Minister Mark Bailey and his officials will have discussions.
"My message to (Prime Minister) Malcolm Turnbull and the Federal Government is let's get on with it, fix the M1, make it better for the residents of the Gold Coast and put politics aside," Ms Palaszczuk said.
The policy unveiling - which Labor dubbed its "M1 action plan" - included:
- $25 million to upgrade Exit 57 at Oxenford (which the Bulletin recently revealed was operating at over capacity by 3000 vehicles a day);
- $16 million for a business case on future upgrades between Eight Mile Plains and the Logan Motorway;
- $5m in planning for the Varsity Lakes to Tugun upgrade.
She also said her Labor Government had spent $74m on the Exit 54 upgrade and was pumping $170m into the Gateway Merge and $180m into Mudgeeraba to Varsity Lakes works.
But Mr Fletcher picked holes in the latter two figures claiming Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull's Government was stumping up $225m of those costs.
Labor's M1 policy comes days after LNP leader Tim Nicholls said his party would build a second M1 if elected after the November 25 poll.
Mr Nicholls costed the 36km project at $500m.
He pledged $250m from State LNP - and the Bulletin understands a deal was brokered in recent weeks for Federal funding of the other $250m.
Labor's Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said it would cost a billion for Labor's 10km Varsity Lakes to Tugun upgrade so it was "fantasy" for LNP to cost a 36km M2 at half that.
"He's got a fantasy not a policy on the M1," Mr Bailey said.
Ms Palaszczuk said Mr Nicholls' idea of tackling congestion on the M1 was to "propose an alternative that quite simply doesn't stack up".