Sexton upgrade not a sure thing

THE pressure is on the NSW Government to fulfil its promise to fund the remaining $100 million needed to build the Sexton Hill upgrade, as additional funding for the new $310 million roadway was not included in Tuesday night's Federal Budget.

Tweed MP Geoff Provest says he will continue to fight to make sure that the necessary funding is included in the NSW Budget to be handed down on June 16.

“After meeting with the Roads Minister Michael Daley and members of the Community Highway Group last week I am confident the state will provide the additional funding,” Mr Provest said.

“He gave us no reason to doubt that the upgrade funding would not be included in the budget.

“But we all know that NSW is in a dire financial position, and with the project not scheduled to start until the end of this year there is a chance they could hold it over until the next budget.

“I don't want to see anymore lives lost on Sexton Hill, but we'll need to keep the pressure on the State Gov- ernment to deliver the promised funding.”

So far the Federal Government has committed $210 million in Auslink funding for the 2.5-kilometre, six-lane project that is due to start at the end of this year and be completed by 2012.

Community Highway Group member, retired en- gineer John Sweeney said while the Federal Government had provided enough funding to start the upgrade at the end of this year, he agreed it would have been good for the community to have the confidence the project was fully funded.

“The fact the Federal Gov- ernment is funding all of the Hunter Expressway (valued at $1.5 billion) is a sign of how broke NSW is,” Mr Sweeney said. “They are also spending money to bypass Kempsey; surely there is a $100 million leftover for Sexton Hill.”

Meanwhile, tenders for the Banora Point upgrade, which will travel from Barney's Point bridge to the southern end of the Tweed Heads bypass, will be called next month, Mr Provest said.

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