A NEW national status for the Princes Highway from Colac to South Australia's border has left "no excuse" for the state government to delay works on the road, an opposition MP says.
Liberal South West Coast MP Roma Britnell said now the federal government had recognised the road on the National Land Transport Network, the state government had to put $140 million of idle federal funds to work.
"The ball is now firmly in their court," Ms Britnell said.
Ms Britnell said she couldn't understand why the state government appeared reluctant to take up the federal government funding, after more than a year since the money was offered.
"They have an opportunity to get a major road upgraded for half the price. I don't know why they aren't jumping at that opportunity," she said.
"This is a project the community wants; more than 8000 people signed my petition calling on the government to match this funding and get on and fix our rural and regional roads.
"Not only would this upgrade improve the condition of the highway, it would also create jobs and in this economy, I would think we should be doing everything we can to make sure there are opportunities for people to be in work."
A state government spokesman said the Victorian government was "working closely" with the federal government on the Princes Highway Corridor Strategy "to guide future improvements".
The spokesman did not answer questions specifically about time frames and locations for those improvements.
The money includes $60 million that the federal government has flagged for upgrades to the highway between Warrnambool and Port Fairy.
"We know how important the Princes Highway is to communities and industry across south western Victoria - that's why we've invested in a raft of projects aimed to improve its safety and reliability," the state government spokesman said.
The state and federal government each contributed half to a four-year $40 million investment that has rebuilt, repaired and resurfaced sections of the Princes Highway between Colac and the South Australia border.
Separately, the Victorian government has invested $6.4 million to build two new overtaking lanes on the Princes Highway at Weerite.
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