Roads, rail on Tamworth Regional Council's state budget wishlist

TAMWORTH Regional Council is banking on the NSW government to invest in roads and rail to create more jobs in the region.

The state government will announce how it will spend billions of dollars over the the 2017/18 financial year next Tuesday and Tamworth mayor Col Murray said road and rail was always high on council’s agenda.

“Transport and connectivity infrastructure is important to everyone, because everyone is impacted by them,” Cr Murray told The Leader

Roads a 'budget priority'.

Roads a 'budget priority'.

The duplication of Goonoo Goonoo Rd, from the AELEC turn off down to Calala Ln, has been on council’s wishlist for years, Cr Murray said.

“Every year, our wishlist always includes its completion,” Cr Murray said.

“There has been a long-standing interest for that to be included in the budget.”

Councillors Mark Rodda and Juanita Wilson echoed the mayor’s comments.

Cr Wilson would like to see the upgrade extend even further, with traffic lights at the Scott Rd/Goonoo Goonoo Rd roundabout.

“The traffic really builds up there and it needs to be sorted - traffic lights would make a big difference,” Cr Wilson said.

Cr Russell Webb said a strong funding stream to grow the region’s road network was “vitally important for the future of our economy”.

“A good transport link increases the opportunity for the region to grow its prosperity, and increases its chances of creating more jobs,” Cr Webb said.

Cr Webb also wants to see funding for the Glen Artney intermodal hub and the associated rail upgrade, which would give the region’s farms and businesses the “opportunity to get their product to ports via rail rather than just freighting via road”.

Cr Murray was fairly confident the upgrade to railway line would get the green light.

“It’s one of those type of investments that unlocks future potential,” he said.

“It’s a very strategic investment and it paves the way for quiet a lot of other opportunities.

“The role we see ourselves in is not to actually make the investment, but to provide the landscape which allows sustainable businesses to come in and provide the future jobs we need.”

Cr Wilson said the state government had already announced a $100m arts fund and would like to see a “sizeable grant” for the city’s new performing arts centre.

“The grant money would really help get it up to the planning stage and shovel ready,” Cr Wilson said.

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