MAYOR John Rosenbaum says one of the first things he hopes to discuss with new Lyne MP David Gillespie in the coming weeks is a takeover of the region’s roads.
Cr Rosenbaum said he would put it to Mr Gillespie that the Bucketts Way and Thunderbolts Way both deserved recognition as national highways.
“I want to know how we go about getting the roads upgraded, so they are funded by the higher levels of government,” he said.
“The Bucketts is a major artery to the coast - it should not be a regional road.”
Cr Rosenbaum said funding of $17 million for the upgrade of the Bucketts, jointly shared between Greater Taree and Gloucester councils and announced by former Lyne MP Rob Oakeshott three years ago, had been guaranteed by Mr Gillespie.
But he said there was still some uncertainty over $4 million of funding for Thunderbolts Way.
“We haven’t had a guarantee on the Thunderbolts Way as yet,” he said.
“One of the things I’d also like to talk to Mr Gillespie about is the amount of funds ratepayers have to put into this kind of projects.
“Ratepayers are often required to contribute a component to match federal or State funding. It’s unrealistic and unsustainable. We don’t have the high rate base required to upgrade our regional roads.”
Work on the Bucketts Way upgrading Church St between Philip St and Cemetery Rd and a 200m section of the road in Craven, which was due to begin in June, would also be taking place in the near future, Cr Rosenbaum said.
“We were ready to go with it until the election was announced and then there was no way we go ahead without the knowledge that there would be funding for the project to be completed,” he said.
Cr Rosenbaum said he believed about 15km of the Bucketts Way would be upgraded with the funding available.