A truckload of political pressure is about to be driven to Macquarie St and Canberra urging both tiers of government to release the handbrake on Princes Highway funding.
FIX IT NOW, a campaign by Fairfax Media’s South and Far South Coast mastheads, was launched at the Mollymook Beach Bowling Club on Friday.
In two years, $9 billion will be freed from North Coast roads. Now is the time to insist it be driven south.
Speakers, including South Coast MP Shelley Hancock and former Gilmore MP Joanna Gash, agreed pressure was needed to secure an 80-20 funding formula for a major upgrade.
Bega MP Andrew Constance says our highway is of 1940s standard.
Patricia White chairs the South East Australian Transport Strategy Inc and told Friday’s meeting that the RMS was primed to begin work on a safer highway – only the dollars were needed.
Research shows smarter roads save lives – the NRMA released figures showing just that three years ago. The numbers are clear - divided highways reduce injuries and fatalities.
Too many loved ones have been lost. Too many times, the Eurobodalla Shire’s emergency services crews have been called out to tragedies they will never forget, such as the one at Waldrons Swamp, pictured left, on October 2, 2014, in which an elderly couple died in a head-on collision.
Pragmatically, the Far South Coast economy relies on the highway. We have no alternative.
This campaign in no way diminishes the commitment the NSW Government and Roads and Maritime Services have already shown. However we know the pressure our roads will be under again in the next school holidays, as people from all around the state and Australia descend.
These numbers are growing and we don't wish to be having the same conversation in 20 years time, when the 80-20 Commonwealth-State funding bucket is up for grabs again.
We have a very brief window of opportunity to convince the Commonwealth and State to back our local MPs and commit to the Princes Highway.
With our sister mastheads up and down the coast, the Bay Post/Moruya Examiner will soon call a public meeting to discuss highway funding.
We hope your voice will be heard.