CCIQ calls for Federal Govt to fund infrastructure projects

A SECOND Toowoomba range crossing and a once-in-a-generation upgrade of the Bruce Hwy are critical to national productivity, according to Queensland's peak business body.

The Chamber of Commerce and Industry Queensland has made a budget submission to the Federal Government calling for it to fund the major infrastructure projects.

"The Toowoomba Range Crossing and Bruce Hwy are an integral part of Queensland's road network and have a significant impact on national productivity and the competitiveness of businesses," the chamber said in a statement.

The chamber worked closely with the State Government in preparing its submission.

"Unfortunately, the existing range crossing has reached its capacity and is in desperate need of an alternative," the statement says.

"The existing range crossing's steep grade and tight curves results in high levels of congestion, traffic delays and a very poor safety record.

"Coupled with the section through urban Toowoomba with 16 sets of traffic lights the existing route falls well short of specified national highway levels of service."

The submission argues that the crossing, with significant Federal Government funding, would accommodate regional growth, reduce travel time and improve freight efficiency.

The chamber called for a "generational upgrade" of the Bruce Hwy to make up for a decade of under-investment.

"On average there are nine locations which close annually for greater than 48 hours and six locations which close for greater than five days," the chamber's statement says.

"In addition, highway flooding causes destruction with reconstruction resulting in further delays to traffic.

"A massive program of reconstruction has been undertaken since January 2011 and is still under way but the January 2013 floods once again confirm the vulnerability of this national corridor to flooding."

The chamber argued a major upgrade would reduce the road toll by 35% and create $30billion in economic improvement through time savings.

"CCIQ has recommended that the Federal Government match the Queensland Government's commitment to allocate $1 billion over the next 10 years to the cost of upgrading the Bruce Hwy over and above existing funding levels under the Nation Building Program," the statement says..

Topics:  bruce highway cciq chamber of commerce and industry queensland toowoomba range upgrades

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