THE New England Highway will get a $140-million upgrade, with money committed to the region's busiest road in the upcoming budget, Barnaby Joyce has revealed.
The funds will be spread across the highway from Newcastle to Tenterfield, the New England MP said, and will be used to make it both safer and quicker for travellers.
"This announcement builds on our program of keeping the New England as a premium corridor of commerce and one of the major highways of our nation," Mr Joyce said.
"It is vitally important that we move the people in from Brisbane and the Gold Coast, and up from Sydney, and move product out.
"That is how we keep money spinning around town and cash going back to the farmers.
"It will make for an easier trip in for the Tamworth Country Music Festival, and an easier trip out for wheat, beef, mutton, poultry and in the future, timber."
Mr Joyce said the funding would target accident hotspots.
"We've seen a number of tragic accidents between Tamworth and Armidale," he said.
"Where the major works take place will be determined by the NSW RMS, but we'll obviously be lobbying for the accident hotspots."
Mr Joyce is also hopeful the budget, which will be announced on Tuesday, will have more money allocated towards water infrastructure projects.
Mr Joyce said he'd been in the ear of Prime Minister Scott Morrison about the need to upgrade the region's dams, or build new ones.
"I've talked to the Prime Minister about it in his office," Mr Joyce said.
"I told him that if Chaffey Dam hadn't been upgraded, Tamworth would have already run out of water."
There is $75 million committed to upgrading Dungowan Dam, however the money is stranded as the NSW government has ruled out committing a similar amount.
The government is expected to call an election shortly after the April 2 budget, for some time in May.
Mr Joyce said while the budget would "be of assistance", it was not what would win or lose the election for the government.
"It's part of a larger economic narrative, and people need to take a broader view than just the budget," he said.