Labouring the cost of the Darlington upgrade

Deputy State Liberal Leader Vickie Chapman has welcomed the Federal Coalition’s budget commitment of almost $1 billion to upgrade two key sections of South Road.

“Too often traffic on South Road grinds to a halt costing commuters and businesses dearly in time lost and money wasted,” said Ms Chapman.

“By providing funding for both the Darlington and Torrens-to-Torrens upgrades the Abbott Coalition Government is demonstrating its commitment to kick starting the stagnant South Australian economy.

“Easing the bottlenecks that currently plague traffic movement along the key north-south corridor for Adelaide will improve productivity and reduce costs in the wider South Australian economy.

“What is less clear is whether the Weatherill Labor Government will be able to deliver the project for the budgeted $620 million spend.”

In April 2013 when then Federal Opposition leader Tony Abbott announced a Coalition Federal Government would fix South Road at Darlington the Weatherill Government claimed the project would cost $1.02 billion.

Just nine months later when Premier Weatherill announced his so-called jobs plan the project cost changed to $600 million. In February, Premier Weatherill claimed the project would cost $830 million.

Now the Weatherill Labor Government has landed on $620 million - well short of the $1 billion that Treasurer Koutsantonis has claimed would be needed to do the job properly.

“The Labor Government has a history of budget blow-outs for major infrastructure projects,” said Ms Chapman.

“The wildly varying costs will place extra pressure on the L-Plate Minister for Transport and Infrastructure and the acting CEO of DPTI.

“The Weatherill Government may come to regret marching former CEO of DPTI Rod Hook out of the door with just 24 hours notice.”