NSW Premier Barry O’Farrell has refused to guarantee funding for the proposed Foxground and Berry bypass or the Berry to Bomaderry upgrade of the Princes Highway.
During a visit to inspect progress on the Gerringong sections of the highway upgrade, Mr O’Farrell would not commit the state government to funding stages two and three of the project. Instead, he criticised the federal government for not spending money in NSW.
‘‘We’ll make announcements about that as part of the budget process,’’ Mr O’Farrell said about stages two and three.
‘‘But it is fair to say that, with NSW revenues down $2.5billion a year, these projects would be helped if the federal government decided to put at least a few dollars into the Princes Highway south of Wollongong. It’s a scandal that our national government doesn’t give NSW its fair share of infrastructure funding.
‘‘It’s a scandal that this road, which is so critical, particularly in holiday periods, is ignored by the federal government.’’
Mr O’Farrell said the future of the projects was unclear without federal funding.
‘‘We’re committed to getting on with the job here.
‘‘But in the face of a revenue crisis in NSW, a decision by the federal government not to provide adequate infrastructure funding to NSW is going to make it harder,’’ he said.
As part of his visit to the Gerringong area, Mr O’Farrell also opened a Princes Highway community display centre to provide information about the upgrade.
Mr O’Farrell said he was pleased to see that work had begun on the Gerringong section, which is due to be completed in three years’ time. ‘‘It’s fantastic to see progress on what is such an important project.
‘‘Not only for people who live in this part of the state but also for those who travel through during the holiday period,’’ he said.
‘‘Once the upgrade is finished, there will be two lanes in each direction on a 7.5–kilometre stretch of the Princes Highway between Mount Pleasant and Toolijooa Road. We are also building two interchanges.’’