The Sydney Morning Herald led the paper’s front page today with this story:

The Rees Government will not spend a cent on expanding the congested M4 or M5 motorways this year, with just $22 million put aside to improve air filtration in the M5 East tunnel, according to a copy of the roads budget obtained by the Herald.

Despite asking Canberra to fund a duplication of the smog-filled M5 East tunnel, and an enormous $9.7 billion underground motorway through the inner-west, the state’s budget has ignored both projects.

All up, $4.3 billion will be spent on the state’s roads, according to the documents, in what the Government will trumpet as a “record” amount of spending – but capital and maintenance spending on rural and regional roads will be cut.

The Daily Telegraph had this story:

Premier Nathan Rees has approved a rapid acceleration of major road projects across Sydney and NSW, with a record $4.4 billion expected to be announced in the state Budget in two weeks.

In a sign Mr Rees is ready to send the state’s $2 billion deficit deeper into the red, Cabinet has approved a $400 million increase in roads funding.

The Daily Telegraph has learned the Government plans to use road construction as the key plank in its overdue stimulus package.

The 10 per cent increase, at a time when the state’s revenues are collapsing, will create 5000 new jobs over 12 months.

Reading both stories, they are the same, but you couldn’t tell from the SMH headline and opening paragraphs, while the Daily Tele‘s story is certainly not “exclusive”.

Peter Fray

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