Ludlam pledge to bridge funding gap

• Greens senator Scott Ludlam reckons he can squirrel $200 million out of the next federal government for a new traffic bridge. Photo supplied

• Greens senator Scott Ludlam reckons he can squirrel $200 million out of the next federal government for a new traffic bridge. Photo supplied

Greens senator Scott Ludlam reckons he has what it takes to unlock federal funding to build a new $200 million Fremantle traffic bridge.

Back in 2004 an engineer warned the then-government the old bridge could collapse if its pylons were hit hard enough. In 2011 the Barnett government swiped $80m that had been put aside for the project.

Senator Ludlam says the $842m of uncontracted funds for WA in the National Building Two program could be funnelled into projects that fix WA’s ailing public transport network.

A new bridge would improve freight transport to the port and take trucks from suburban roads, he says. “This $842m, which won’t affect blackspot and other road safety funding, would kick-start annual funding to build the Perth light rail network, pay for outer Perth bus services, regional public transport services and replace the Fremantle train bridge so we can get more freight-onto-rail via double-stacking,” he says.

“It is $842m in addition to the $500m for Perth public transport already committed, but which will disappear if Mr Abbott becomes prime minister.

“With Tony Abbott as prime minister looking likely, WA’s main hope of securing funding for public transport will be a strong Greens voice in the senate.”

The Fremantle-based Greens senator was elected in 2007 but faces a battle to keep his seat in the wake of a conservative surge in WA. His chances of retaining WA’s sixth and last Senate spot has been severely hampered by the WA Nationals’ preselection of West Coast Eagles legend David Wirrpanda as their star Senate candidate.

by BRENDAN FOSTER

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