Opposition Leader Tony Abbott.
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott. Chris Ison

Pacific Highway Upgrade Pledge

THE Federal Coalition has pledged to complete the Pacific Highway upgrade if elected to government in 2013.

Opposition Leader Tony Abbott and Nationals leader Warren Truss today announced a financial commitment for duplication works at the start of The Nationals' 2012 federal conference in Canberra.

"Today we commit a future Coalition government to providing $5.6 billion to complete the duplication of the Pacific Highway and restore the 80/20 funding partnership with the NSW government," a joint statement from the leaders said.

"Local communities rightly expect the Federal and State government to work together and build this significant national infrastructure project."

However, the funding promise may still bring the Coalition into conflict with the State government of Premier Barry O'Farrell.

The new plan takes $2 billion pledged by Labor for Sydney's doomed Epping to Parramatta rail project, rather than comply with the Premier's demand for the money to be switched to his North West Rail Link.

When told of the announcement, Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese questioned whether any funding arrangement between the Coalition parties would see the upgrade completed by the end of the decade.

"What we have today is an extraordinary proposition whereby the National Party, Warren Truss, and the NSW government have been green-lighted to ignore the 2016 deadline," he told a door-stop conference in Sydney.

Mr Albanese reiterated the NSW government agreed before the last election to a 50-50 funding split.