Transport Minister Rita Saffioti has hit back at claims that work to upgrade a stretch of Bussell Highway into a dual carriageway has stalled.
The South Western Times revealed in May that the State Government would push ahead with $4 million forward works on a 5km stretch of the highway, despite still needing Federal funding.
Ms Saffioti committed to stage one of the upgrades after saying savings had been identified from the Bunbury Outer Ring Road project.
Opposition transport spokeswoman Libby Mettam last week claimed Ms Saffioti had not written to Federal Transport Minister Michael McCormack to re-allocate the $4 million and she had “dropped the ball”.
“There are currently ample funds, provided by the Federal Government to complete both the BORR as well as the Bussell Highway projects,” Ms Mettam said.
But Ms Saffioti said she found it “weird” that Ms Mettam did not want to join her in fighting to secure Federal funding and she believed both Governments could work together.
“I have written to the Federal Minister for Infrastructure (Mr McCormack ) to formalise this proposal and given the Commonwealth claims to have $1.2 billion set aside for the Perth Freight Link, whether any of these funds can be redirected to the Bussell Highway project,” Ms Saffioti said.
“We are the first State Government to take the Bussell Highway project seriously, provide funding to get it off the ground and properly lobby the Federal Government to contribute.
“We have committed $4 million towards the stage one works on a 5km stretch of the highway, which are now under way with limestone side tracks now built and preloading works set to begin imminently.
“We are pushing ahead with work on this important project and we will continue to lobby the Federal Government to roll the whole project into the BORR.”
Upgrading the highway answers long-standing calls for the notorious stretch of road between Capel and Busselton to be one continuous dual carriageway.
“I support this project and would like to see the Federal Government support it, to make this a reality,” Ms Saffioti said.
“I think if we work together we can secure this funding.”