Twin bridge remains in limbo

Twin bridge remains in limbo

THE state and federal governments are in talks about duplicating Mayfield’s Tourle Street bridge, in the wake of the former federal Labor government’s $52million funding commitment to the project.
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So far, the new Coalition government is not making any pledge, with Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss’s office describing the $52million allocated under Labor as falling ‘‘into the remit of election promises’’.

Former infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese announced the money, half the project’s total cost, about a month out from the federal election.

But he insisted it was not an election promise, as the money was allocated under the federal budget in May despite not appearing in the budget papers.

The project has been named among national priorities by advisory body Infrastructure Australia and the NSW government will stump up half the cost.

A spokesman for Mr Truss, also the minister for infrastructure, said the Coalition was honouring all contracts the previous government had signed, but any ‘‘non-contracted announcements’’ would have to be reassessed on their merits.

It was discussing priorities with the NSW government, he said.

The project would duplicate the existing two-lane bridge and upgrade Kooragang Island’s Cormorant Drive.

Parliamentary secretary for roads Stuart Ayres said the state government had set aside $3million for ‘‘planning work for this important upgrade’’.

The federal government has also labelled as an ‘‘election hoax’’ the $7million Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon announced for Maitland City Council’s Levee project, just before the election.

The money was said to come under round 5B of its Regional Development Australia funding.

A spokesman for Mr Truss said the same project had been knocked back under round 4 of the program.

However, it is understood the Regional Development Australia Hunter committee recommended the council receive the $7million based on the quality of its earlier application.