Budget no fast-fix for highway
A $3.56 BILLION road funding injection in Tuesday's federal budget won't guarantee the full duplication of the Pacific Highway by a planned 2016 deadline unless the NSW government allocates more money, federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese says.
Mr Albanese has revealed the extra funds will be earmarked for the federal Nation Building Program when the 2012-13 budget is unveiled.
He said the money would be available for the Pacific Highway but it could not guarantee the full duplication of the road by the end of 2016 unless the state government agreed to Canberra's 50:50 funding split model instead of its insistence on the federal government paying for 80 per cent of the work.
''It could be delayed until the funding is provided,'' he said.
''Any delay in funding means that it ends up costing more.
''If the funding isn't there, then the roadworks can't occur.
''It is indeed possible to deliver on the 2016 commitment but to do it, what it has always needed was for the money to match the political rhetoric.''
Mr Albanese said the $3.56 billion injection would be made available ''in what is a very difficult budget coming up on Tuesday night'' but said the funds would only go to the Pacific Highway from the Nation Building Fund if the NSW budget allocated more funds in June.
''The deadline for that is the state budgets,'' he said.
Mr Albanese argued a full duplication of the highway would require an extra $7.1 billion over what has previously been allocated by state and federal governments.
In 2008, the Rudd government pledged $4.1 billion over five years to rebuild the highway which links Sydney and Brisbane.AAP