End 'disgrace' and upgrade Midland, TTA says

Tasmanian trucking lobby pushing for upgrade to vital highway, labelling the road network a "disgrace"

By Brad Gardner | March 3, 2010

Tasmania's trucking lobby is once again pushing for an upgrade to the Midland Highway as Tasmanians prepare to go to the voting booths.

The Tasmanian Transport Association (TTA) says the the State's most important highway linking Hobart to Launceston needs to be upgraded to a dual carriageway because it is deteriorating.

TTA Executive Director Robin Phillips says the road is the worst he has seen it in 30 years, labelling sections of the State's network a "disgrace".

"The biggest issue is the condition of roads in Tasmania," Phillips says ahead of the election on March 20.

"We would like a four-lane [Midland] Highway."

Federal Opposition Leader Tony Abbott has pledged to spend $400 million to upgrade the highway starting 2014 if the Rudd Government is tossed out at this year's federal election.

But the federal Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Anthony Albanese, claims the upgrade will cost $2 billion.

The TTA is also unlikely to restore its membership to the Australian Trucking Association (ATA).

Phillips says the partnership the group has with the Victorian Transport Association (VTA) is working well.

The TTA quit the ATA more than a year ago over complaints the fees charged by the nation's peak lobby group were "out of orbit".

At the time, Phillips claimed the membership fees were so expensive only corporate stakeholders could afford them while the ATA argued they represented good value for money.

"The cost of membership was not justifiable. The costs were out of orbit the last few years," Phillips said in January last year.

He says the partnership between the TTA and the VTA is a perfect fit because both organisations have members dealing with cross-strait issues.

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