THE F3 link to Branxton has been recommended as a top priority for federal funding by Infrastructure Australia, along with two Hunter freight rail projects.
Federal infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese was yesterday presented with an interim list of 94 projects created by Infrastructure Australia.
The F3 link was given a $1.2 billion price, which has been welcomed by the business community as a sign it would not be an "F3-lite" option.
But the list also delivered some disappointments, with Lake Macquarie Mayor and MP Greg Piper scathing in his assessment of the exclusion of the Glendale Transport Interchange.
Infrastructure Australia chairman Sir Rod Eddington said about 900 projects were left off the list, after all requests had been "boiled down".
He said the interim list would be further scrutinised for cost-benefit ratios, contribution to the economy and social and environmental factors before a final report was given to the Government in March.
The Federal Government has already agreed to undertake two of the freight rail projects on the list; they were announced last week as part of Prime Minister Kevin Rudd's $4.7 billion funding.
Hunter MP Joel Fitzgibbon and business leaders have welcomed the F3's inclusion.
"I'm very pleased the F3 link is on the list and now eagerly await the findings of the Lower Hunter transport study which has been delayed to properly assess a proposal to stage the project," Mr Fitzgibbon said.
Sir Rod said the list of projects was worth hundreds of billions of dollars and Infrastructure Australia would look into partnerships with state governments and private partners to fund them.
Mr Piper said he could not understand why the Glendale interchange was not included.
"[It] has been studied to death," he said. "You can't have any more comprehensive information than that. It was all the information in the scope of what they asked for."