Rocklea to Darra upgrade of Ipswich Mwy might have wheels
THE Ipswich Motorway upgrade between Rocklea and Darra is set to become a reality after the state government agreed to fund its share of the project's cost.
The federal government had previously committed $279 million towards the project but negotiations broke down after both parties could not agree on the funding split.
The former federal Labor government offered a 50:50 split but the then LNP state government wanted the historical 80:20 split.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Wednesday the government had agreed to work with the federal government to ensure the project became a reality.
She said her government would commit $200 million towards the project which represents about 50% of the overall cost.
"This is an enormous step in seeing this project move forward, and means relief is in sight for motorway users who currently face mass congestion in peak times," she said.
"We know upgrading the Ipswich Motorway is crucial to ease congestion for both motorists and road freight.
"We have got our money on the table, ready to go - now we just need the federal government to step up and match our commitment."
The Palaszczuk Government has continually claimed the federal funding has been removed off the table.
Federal Infrastructure Minister Darren Chester said in a statement to the QT this was never the case.
He said the funding had always been available should the Palaszczauk Government commit funds towards its share of the project.
"The Australian Government component of funding for this project has been on the table since the Queensland Labor Government came to power in 2015, but it has refused to match our commitment," he said.
"Since September last year, when my predecessor Warren Truss reiterated to Queensland Roads Minister Mark Bailey that the Australian Government would provide funding for 50% of the project, Queensland Labor has been silent.
"The announcement is the first advice we have received from the Queensland Government regarding a commitment to the Ipswich Motorway.
"However, I note it has reduced the scope of the project by $160 million and the public deserves to know what has been sacrificed.
"We were expecting to receive a business case prior to any public announcement.
"The Queensland Government must now deliver a final a business case or formal submission outlining its reduced Ipswich Motorway (Rocklea to Darra) proposal.
Federal Blair MP Neumann said there was no reason why the Darra to Rocklea section of motorway would not proceed.
"Stage one of the project is from the Oxley roundabout to Suscatand St and that was originally costed at $558 million but now has been costed at $400 million," he said.
"The federal government only has to put $200 million forward. They need to put their share of the money back on the table and then we can start construction.
"Some initial planning needs to be done and then construction can start."
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale has been vocal about the need for the upgrade, tagging the motorway "a goat track" in the past.
He said the funding announcement would mean one less car park in the region.
"Finally after years of lobbying we got half a motorway and a car park, and now we will get a full motorway," he said.
"There is no excuse now for the Federal Government or anyone else stopping Ipswich getting the entrance into the city we deserve.
"The State Government has now committed to what the feds wanted."
Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard said the funding announcement was fantastic news.
"It is going to make the motorway safer and faster and will boost the economy."