Highway going nowhere very fast

BEFORE the Federal Election one Coalition staffer said the Pacific Hwy was a boulevard paved with Labor's lies, but for others it's a road tarred with political stunts and broken promises.

The most recent report from the NSW Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) on the highway upgrade offered no completion date for the Woolgoolga to Ballina section. Instead sections of the Pacific Hwy which run through the Clarence Valley were labelled type three priorities.

A type one priority means the section will be built by the end of 2014. Type two priorities are either under construction or about to start. And a type three priority, like the sections in the Clarence Valley, remain in the planning stage. There is one exception, with construction work aimed at making sections of the highway just north of Ulmarra safer expected to be finished by mid-2014.

This work will cost $55 million, involves 12 on-site workers and is happening at the Old Post Office Lane.

"While most of the funding will be directed to upgrading the highway to a four-lane divided road, there is a need to address road safety and traffic issues on sections of the two-lane highway," the RMS report stated.

"This work is also aimed at reducing the delays caused by local and major flood events."

Just before the Federal Election on August 16 the Coalition promised voters in the Page electorate the highway would be completed sooner if Tony Abbott was Prime Minister. And yesterday a spokesman for Nationals leader Warren Truss defended the claim.

Mr Truss was recently made Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development. A spokesman from his office refused to concede the Pacific Hwy would be built no quicker under a Coalition Government.

"The Coalition, as promised, is releasing the budgeted $3.56billion over the forward estimates, with the extra $2.08billion we have committed coming during the out years, hence, this additional expenditure will not show up until later budget papers."

In simple terms this means voters will have to wait years before they see the Coalition come good on its promise to divert funds from a western Sydney rail project it scrapped to build the highway.

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