Top up for duplication

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Regional stakeholders have welcomed the Federal Government’s decision to double funding for the Roads to Recovery Program, a major boost that is expected to improve roads in Gippsland.

Tuesday’s budget announcement included a commitment to double allocation for Roads to Recovery funding from $350 million to $700 million for the 2015-16 financial year.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester said the funding boost would allow the Wellington Shire, East Gippsland Shire and Latrobe City to share in $11 million to improve roads with at least $2.3 million to be set aside for Latrobe.

Mr Chester said in addition the Federal Government would also continue to invest heavily in the construction and improvement of major routes in the region including more than $20 million spent on the Princes Highway duplication between Traralgon and Sale.

“Both initiatives will improve productivity and make our roads safer to reduce accidents and save lives in the future,” Mr Chester said.

Ongoing upgrades to the Strzelecki Highway have attracted a further $1.9 million in the coming financial year.

Committee for Gippsland chief executive Mary Aldred dubbed the funding boost for the Princes Highway duplication as a “terrific” move as Gippsland had a six million annual tonne freight task and needed better freight network connections.

“This is a major project for Gippsland that has had wholehearted support and drive from the Committee for Gippsland, and our local government and regional development partners through One Gippsland,” Ms Aldred said.

The Australian Local Government Association also welcomed the announcement saying additional funds given to councils would allow them to improve local infrastructure and ensure road safety