A Liberal ACT government would spend $146 million on new buses for Canberra and infrastructure works including duplication of Gundaroo Drive and a new flyover on the Barton Highway near Gungahlin.
Opposition Leader Jeremy Hanson and transport spokesman Alistair Coe will seek to disrupt the Barr government's budget roll-out by announcing the package on Monday, described as a first instalment of the opposition transport policy for next year's election.
Included in the package is $51 million for the leasing and operation of 50 buses for ACTION, including pay for more drivers. The funds would be reallocated from 2015 budget expenditure for the Capital Metro Agency's ongoing operating costs and would see a new "super express" service begin operating in peak periods, including from Tuggeranong, Weston Creek, Woden, Belconnen and Gungahlin. The opposition believes the plan would also improve existing express services.
Duplicating Gundaroo Drive from the Barton Highway to Mirrabei Drive would cost $60 million and include two car lanes and a bike lane in both directions, Mr Coe said. The road carries more than 12,500 cars each day.
A new flyover would link Gundaroo Drive and William Slim Drive above the Barton Highway at a cost of $35 million. A three-span bridge would be constructed and noise barriers would be installed if required. The government plans to add traffic lights and priority bus lanes to the roundabout, a site of more than 60 accidents each year.
Mr Coe said a comprehensive transport policy, including plans to ease congestion on Northbourne Avenue, would be released closer to the October 2016 poll.
A Hanson Liberal government would seek to stop development of the light rail line to Gungahlin but the party is yet to announce a substantive public transport policy.
Last month Labor backbencher Meegan Fitzharris presented Roads Minister Mick Gentleman with a petition calling for the same section of Gundaroo Drive to be duplicated as part of Tuesday's territory budget. The first stage of that project would be duplication between Mirrabei Drive and Gungahlin Drive.
Mr Coe said the opposition package would improve travel times for drivers and would seek to improve bus travel times to be better than car travel. He was unable to say how long it would take to implement but called the plan a "priority" for the first year of a new government.
"The government's own report on the Barton Highway roundabout says their solution is at best a five- or 10-year solution and ultimately it will have to be grade separated.
"We're saying why waste money on signalisation? I actually think it could end up resulting in a worse outcome. Even the government's own report says by 2021 there will be a 316 second delay with the signals. A five minute delay is pretty substantial for one intersection."
The announcement estimates the marginal cost of operating a bus at $150,000 per year and $75,000 for leasing each vehicle. Mr Coe said work was continuing on the cost of expanding Canberra's public bus fleet.
He said the announcement was not an alternative policy to the 12-kilometre tram line.
"We are doing a significant amount of work in relation to Northbourne Avenue but also buses in general," he said.
"There is much more that we will be saying, I think relatively soon, about the operation of ACTION and also congestion across Canberra."