QUEENSLAND’S Transport Minister says while the Prime Minister’s pledge to commit $1 billion dollars to fix the Pacific Motorway on the Gold Coast is better than nothing, it’s still not good enough.
The federal government yesterday announced it had come up with $1 billion to put towards upgrading two vital sections of the problem-plagued motorway.
The money would be used to widen the M1 from to six to eight lanes between Eight Mile Plains and Daisy Hill and increase the southern section between Varsity Lakes and Tugun from four to six lanes.
ARTICLE CONTINUES AFTER THIS ADVERTISEMENT
The congestion-busting cash would also see Brisbane’s busway extended to Springwood, and the construction of a direct northbound off-ramp from the M1 to Southport-Burleigh Road.
Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey welcomed the funding, but said it would cost almost $2 billion to fix the M1 from Brisbane to the border.
And while Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull wants the Queensland Government to match the $1 billion in a 50:50 deal, Mr Bailey said an 80:20 split like Queensland’s Bruce and Warrego Highway’s received seemed the fairer option.
“It seems like Mr Turnbull believes the case for an 80:20 split is there,” Mr Bailey said, citing the following quote from the Prime Minister:
“The M1 is one of the most important and heavily-congested routes in Queensland, with nearly 30 million tonnes of freight moving between NSW and Queensland each year and between 50,000 and 155,000 vehicles a day using sections of the M1 from Springwood to Tugun.” – Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull
“We’re glad Canberra’s finally spending some of our tax dollars in Queensland – it’s better than nothing,” Mr Bailey said.
“We’ve been fighting since 2015 for a fair share for M1 funding on the Gold Coast [and] the good news is that it now looks like we will be able to get started on our plans.
“[but] we still wouldn’t mind Sydney’s deal – $5 billion for a new airport, railway line AND the whole snowy scheme.
“NSW also got $5.64 billion from the LNP Federal Government on an 80:20 basis to upgrade the M1 – the same road, just across the border.
“The Federal Government has funded other national road projects in Qld 80:20, including the Bruce Highway, the Gateway Arterial, the Warrego and the Hann Highways – all of which carry less traffic per day than the M1.
“If the Bruce Highway to the north of Brisbane is funded 80-20 and the Pacific Motorway south of the border is funded 80-20, why isn’t the road that connects it funded 80-20?
“If National Land Transport Network Roads only get 50-50 funding as the Coalition argues, then why are they funding the Gateway Arterial North on an 80-20 basis?”
Speaking to reporters yesterday afternoon, Mr Turnbull said all Gold Coast M1 highway projects had been funded 50:50 by federal and state governments in the past.
“Historically the practice has always been for both LNP and Labor governments for the federal and the state has always been for the funding to be 50:50 on the M1,” he said.
“And the existing projects; the Gateway merge and the Mudgereeba to Varsity Lakes projects are 50:50 projects.”
Queensland’s Opposition Leader Deb Frecklington has joined the debate and urged the state government to match the federal government’s $1 billion promise.
“Malcolm Turnbull has put $1 billion on the table and Annastacia Palaszczuk should do the same in the upcoming state budget,” she said.
“Drivers are sick of political point-scoring and just want action to fix the M1.”