Road funding clash

More than 30 people commented on the Gazette's Facebook site last week that the intersection of the Great Western Highway and Peninsula Road at Valley Heights be nominated as a project site for the next funding round of the National Black Spot Program.

More than 30 people commented on the Gazette's Facebook site last week that the intersection of the Great Western Highway and Peninsula Road at Valley Heights be nominated as a project site for the next funding round of the National Black Spot Program.

The intersection of the Great Western Highway and Sinclair Crescent in Wentworth Falls.

The intersection of the Great Western Highway and Sinclair Crescent in Wentworth Falls.

The intersection of the Great Western Highway, Wascoe and Mann Streets in Glenbrook.

The intersection of the Great Western Highway, Wascoe and Mann Streets in Glenbrook.

Blue Mountains City Council won't apply for any national black spot program money this year, despite the federal government making it easier to gain funding.

The closing date for the next round of black spot nominations is August 29 but a council spokeswoman told the Gazette council won't be making any and would instead conduct a review.

"Should locations be identified that may meet the black spot funding criteria, we will be submitting these projects for 2016-17," the spokeswoman said.

Noting the program's "very specific criteria", she said said there would be more benefit in obtaining the most up-to-date crash data and local road safety audits than preparing funding applications for 2015-16 "that are considered to have either a low benefit or low chance of success".

In contrast, Penrith City Council will make five black spot nominations for 2015-16 worth between $60,000 and $160,000 each.

A spokesperson for Lithgow City Council said they were "still working on a list of possible pro-jects [for the 2015-16 funding round], but no details have been confirmed to date".

Federal Member for Macquarie Louise Markus confirmed last month that NBSP funding is being increased from $300 million to $500 million for the next two years and the government "strongly encouraged all councils to submit their nominations".

It is now easier to gain funding as the number of casualty crashes has been reduced from three to two in any five-year period.

The Blue Mountains Gazette's Facebook followers had no trouble nominating potential projects for the next black spot funding round last week. Within 24 hours of posing the question, 130 comments were posted including suggestions for 24 locations.

Top of that list was the intersection of the Great Western Highway and Peninsula Road in Valley Heights, followed by the intersection of the highway, Wascoe and Mann Streets in Glenbrook, and Sinclair Crescent in Wentworth Falls at the highway.

Other popular suggestions were the round-about at Wilson Way and Old Bathurst Road in Blaxland and several spots along Hawkesbury Road in Springwood.

Blue Mountains mayor Mark Greenhill appeared to distance himself from the decision on Monday, telling the Gazette that making black spot project nominations "is an operational matter and it is therefore an issue on which I will defer to our professional staff".

"We have had a very strong history of making successful submissions to this program and this will continue," he said.

But Mt Victoria Highway Action Group spokesperson and Blue Mountains Commuters and Transport Users Association president Michael Paag called on the mayor "to intervene and ensure council lodges submissions now".

"The Gazette is doing what BMCC [council] should be, that is getting the public involved in the program," Mr Paag said.

"Whether you are driving or walking you don't have to travel very far to find black spots, so why is BMCC not making any submissions for black spot funding for 2015-16?"

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