Will upgrade die in pollies’ road raging?
THE war of words over funding the Pacific Highway duplication erupted again when Federal Nationals leader Warren Truss toured the Northern Rivers yesterday.
Mr Truss fired the first salvo when he inspected the Pacific Hwy between Woodburn and Ballina that he claimed was one of five sections of the Pacific Hwy that are left to be duplicated and are not funded by Labor.
"The Gillard Government's insistence that NSW meets 50% of the cost of upgrading the Pacific Hwy has left 20% of the duplication completely unfunded," he said.
Mr Truss said it was especially galling for people in the electorate of Page who will suffer for Labor's funding fiasco.
"Almost all of the 20% of the highway that Labor has not funded is in their area."
Nationals' candidate for Page Kevin Hogan joined Mr Truss for the tour of the highway.
"It is unconscionable that Labor insists on playing political road games rather than match the unequivocal and fully funded commitment Warren has made," Mr Hogan said.
"The Pacific Hwy needs to be a national priority; it's certainly a priority for the Nationals."
Federal Member for Page Janelle Saffin returned fire yesterday afternoon calling on the Nationals to "speak the truth" about the Pacific Hwy upgrade.
"Quite frankly, I am fed up with Mr Truss flitting in and flitting out of our electorate, making glib promises which are not budgeted for, and for misleading statements about funding responsibility," she said.
"If he wants to say 'We are funding it', say it and leave it at that."
Ms Saffin said she was proud of what she had achieved for her Page constituents including the Ballina and Alstonville bypasses, upgrading the Glenugie section and getting work under way on duplication at Tabbimoble.
"It doesn't matter how many times he stands beside the highway and says there is some mythical 80:20 funding split, it doesn't make it true."