Rudd's Sexton promise
KEVIN Rudd says he will dip into the Commonwealth coffers to fix the Sexton Hill blackspot at Banora Point, promising $210 million towards the upgrade of the road. Mr Rudd announced his Sexton Hill promise yesterday in Lismore as part of a Labor plan to spend more than $1.5 billion on Northern Rivers roads. Mr Rudd's promise echoes a $2.4 billion promise made shortly before the election by Prime Minister John Howard, and adds to it by committing $90 million to the Alstonville bypass project. "It makes you conscious of just how much communities need good local roads," he said. "The real challenge is to decrease the crashes and fatalities on Northern Rivers roads." Mr Rudd said other local priorities for the region's transport network could be investigated by Infrastructure Australia; a new organisation proposed by Labor to identify and fix infrastructure shortfalls around Australia. Projects that could be considered by the organisation included the Casino-to-Murwillumbah train. Richmond MP Justine Elliot yesterday said the funding would make sure the Sexton Hill upgrade was completed as soon as possible. "Those of us who travel this road every day know what a problem it is and how dangerous it can be," she said. "People want to see an end to the fatalities and they want to see this project done." Ms Elliot said she understood the RTA was on track to start the Sexton Hill upgrade next year. In relation to a suggestion that a tunnel option needs to be examined for the upgrade of the hill, Ms Elliot said the RTA was best-equipped to make a decision on the right option to fix Sexton Hill.