THE future freedom of movement of the 147,000 motorists that travel on the M1 every day is now in the hands of the Prime Minister.
With funding of the vitally important upgrades to the highest trafficked road in Queensland locked in a political stalemate, Queensland Minister for Main Roads, Mark Bailey, Logan mayor Luke Smith, Gold Coast mayor Tom Tate and representatives of the RACQ and Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland two weeks ago wrote a joint letter to Mr Turnbull, calling on him to reconsider his refusal to provide more than 50 per cent of the funding required.
The decision to call on the PM was taken after a meeting between the representatives, where they also resolved to seek meetings with Mr Turnbull, his deputy Barnaby Joyce and minister for infrastructure and transport Darren Chester.
In the lead up to the federal election, the LNP incumbent member of Forde, Bert van Manen committed $215 million to upgrading the Gateway Motorway merge of the M1, as well as widening a 5km stretch between Mudgeeraba and Reedy Creek.
The state has put $86 million on the table for the upgrades, maintaining the Commonwealth must bear 80 per cent of the total cost.
Re-elected Mr van Manen said historically every upgrade on this stretch of the M1 had been funded on a 50:50 basis, and that was the current agreement.
“To claim the deal should change just because the Main Roads Minister says they can’t afford it is a poor excuse,” Mr van Manen said.
But Cr Smith said the 80:20 funding split was in line with the Australian government’s funding formula.
“The M1 is part of the National Land Transport Network, and therefore should be funded in line with the 80:20 funding formula,” he said.
“The federal government has funded other national highway projects in Queensland with an 80:20 split, including the Gateway upgrade north.
“Just across the border in New South Wales the federal government funded a $5.6 billion upgrade to duplicate M1 from Woolgoolga to Ballina using an 80:20 split.
“If it’s okay for new South Wales, it’s okay for Queensland.”
Mr van Manen said the Queensland Government should focus on getting their ballooning public service bill under control so they could fund the vital infrastructure the state needs.
“Mark Bailey wants to put his hand out for more, rather than find the savings needed to fund infrastructure in Queensland and that is a poor way to manage our State,” he said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.