It's the case of the missing millions that has one Illawarra MP fearing much-needed Princes Highway upgrades are on a road to nowhere.
On Monday, the federal government spruiked a $500 million investment in highway infrastructure between Wollongong and the Victorian border, on the proviso it won the looming election.
However, on Tuesday, that figure was nowhere to be found in the budget papers.
What happened to cash? And why did the government promise money it had no intention of spending?
They're the questions Labor Whitlam MP Stephen Jones wants answered.
"On Monday, it looked like a promising announcement. On Tuesday, it turned out to be a con-job," Mr Jones said.
The announcement, made by the Liberal Party's Gilmore candidate Warren Mundine, revealed the federal government would add $500 million to the $960 million in state government cash already on the table.
"We're very pleased that in the budget there will be half a billion dollars - $500 million - to be allocated from the federal government to the Princes Highway," Mr Mundine said on Monday.
The only mention of that figure in the budget papers was for "road transport infrastructure in NSW" and pointed to a measure dubbed "Infrastructure Investment Program - Princes Highway".
However, the program's cash-outlay table showed just a $100 million spend over the next four years.
No cash would be splashed in the 2019-20 financial year, with the $100 million drip-fed over the following three years; $20 million in 2020-21, $30 million in 2021-22 and $50 million in 2022-23.
"The government will provide $1.0 billion from 2020-21 for improvements to the Princes Highway, including for road widening and safety upgrades, new overtaking lanes, duplication along key sections and town bypasses in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia," the budget document said.
"The funding priorities will be informed by the Princes Highway Corridor Strategy."
It was also unclear in the papers how much of the money would be spent on the NSW stretch of highway. The national road spans 1941km across three states between Sydney and Port Augusta, via Melbourne.
Mr Jones called on the government to be "fair dinkum" and said if the money "ain't in the forward estimates, it's not real".
The Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities said the $1 billion included $500 million for the NSW section of highway, $300 million in Victoria and $200 million in South Australia.
"The $100 million allocation across the forward estimates represents the combined funding across the three jurisdictions for this period," it said.
The indicative NSW funding was currently $10m in 2020‑21,$15m in 2021-22, $25m in 2022-23 and $450m from 2023-24 onwards, the department said.
"This funding profile is indicative only and can be revised to meet the needs of the project as it is developed. Profiles are reviewed twice a year in consultation with state jurisdictions," it said.
"The commitments announced in the budget reflect normal timeframes, where known, to undertake detailed design, environmental assessment and community consultation prior to construction commencing."