Road freight infrastructure in Australia received a boost yesterday when Prime Minister Kevin Rudd’s Labor Government revealed its latest budget.

As part of its plans to combat the global financial downturn, the Federal Government has allocated AU $8.5bn for building roads, railway and ports – with close to $3m of that figure devoted to road freight corridors.

New South Wales has particularly benefited from the move with $1.5bn being allocated for the Hunter Expressway and $618m being put towards a dual carriageway bypass of Kempsey and Frederickton to the east of the Pacific Highway.

Another $884m in funding was given to an upgrade of the Ipswich Motorway from Dinmore to Goodna in Queensland.

Despite the latest budget appearing to largely benefit New South Wales, the state was still forced to shelve three big road schemes – namely the duplication of the M5 East, a $4.5bn tollway under Pennant Hills Road and a $9.7bn motorway connecting the M4 with Port Botany.

Although the NSW state government will now be able to deliver on its promise of the F3 Seahampton to Branxton link road – a 40km duel carriageway named the Hunter Expressway, the project’s timeframe has disappointed some supporters.

The link road has been allocated approximately $1.5bn in funding over six years, including $158.9m this financial year and $162m in 2013-14.

The state government is expected to contribute a further $200m to the project, but if the road is built at an even pace it equates to a progress of less than 7km a year for every year of funding.

By Alex Hawkes.