The Courier: East-west link important to Ballarat By Terry Mulder, Public Transport and Roads Minister February 4, 2014, 2:25 p.m.
It is unfortunate that the Opposition spokesman for roads and road safety continues his efforts to mislead Victorians about State Labor’s transport plan (letters January 25).
Labor’s plan sets aside only $250 million per year for regional and outer suburban roads.
Worse still, Labor says it will be funded from “guaranteed future appropriations from the Department of Transport’s Better roads Victoria Trust Account”.
However, VicRoads Annual Report for 2012-13 shows that this account provided $310.6 million for road construction and maintenance projects.
In other words, Labor’s $250 million per year pledge is actually a cut of over $60 million to current road funding.
Instead of cutting road funding, the Victorian Coalition Government is investing record amounts to rebuild our road network.
This year alone, we are investing $1.2 billion, including $466 million dedicated to road repairs and maintenance.
The duplication of the Western Highway from Ballarat to Stawell is part of this commitment, as is the upgrade of the Ballarat West Link Road and the Ballarat to Buninyong Road.
While the Victorian Coalition Government is rebuilding our regional network Daniel Andrews continues to display Labor’s traditional city-centric approach.
Moreover, Labor has been asserting that its promised $250 million per year is new money.
It is not. Speed camera and fines revenue that is to fund this allocation already goes to road projects and has done since 2005.
Labor is trying to sell the same rug twice and should stop pretending otherwise.
Finally, the decision by the Victorian Coalition Government to build the East West Link is important for Ballarat.
It means a direct connection from the Western Freeway to the Eastern Freeway and faster freight movements to and across Melbourne to better access markets.
This is a game-changing project for Victoria, providing a second cross-city road connection extending across Melbourne.
Its cost to the State is not nearly as high as some scaremongers have claimed, since the link will be tolled and the Commonwealth Government will contribute $1.5 billion to the project.
The Victorian Coalition Government will continue to deliver the resources our road network needs to make up for the eleven years of Labor’s neglect.