Nationals Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, said today that funding for the Coffs Harbour Bypass has to be included in next month’s federal budget in order to maximise the federal government’s return on record investment in the Pacific Highway.
Mr Hartsuyker said he had been lobbying hard for government funding for the Bypass over an extended period of time.
“I met with Deputy Prime Minister McCormack within one week of him being sworn in as Minister for Infrastructure to brief him on the urgent need to fund the Bypass,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“Last month, I also took Coffs Harbour Mayor Denise Knight, and Council General Manager Steve McGrath to meet the Deputy Prime Minister in Canberra, to discuss this important priority for the Coffs Coast with him.”
Mr Hartsuyker said the case for the Coffs Harbour Bypass was clear.
“The exponential increase of traffic through Coffs Harbour is becoming untenable, with 12 sets of traffic lights stopping trucks and motorists on our local streets,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“We have seen a 95 per cent reduction in road fatalities where dual-carriageway works have been completed. The Coffs Harbour Bypass will make our local roads safer.”
Mr Hartsuyker said he had spoken to Deputy Prime Minister McCormack again today about the pressing need for funding.
“The draft routes for this project were first released in July 2001, nearly 17 years ago,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“Our community has waited for this Bypass for far too long.
“While there is more work to do before construction can start, it is absolutely vital the Coffs Harbour Bypass is funded in next month’s federal budget so work can begin as quickly as possible.”