LABOR has matched the Morrison government's $1.6 billion pledge to extend the M1 from Black Hill to Raymond Terrarce and hopes to be able to begin the project sooner than its rivals.
Opposition infrastructure and transport spokesman Anthony Albanese visited the section of road to be bypassed with Paterson MP Meryl Swanson on Tuesday to make the funding pledge.
It followed the government's commitment of $1.6 billion for the $2 billion project when the budget was released earlier this month.
However, forward estimates have since revealed no money will be spent by the government on the project for the next two years.
Only $10 million will be allocated in 2021-22 and $40 million in 2022-23. The majority of the $1.6 billion will be spent across 2023-28.
Mr Albanese criticised the government's lack of action on the project over the past six years and said he hoped to offer a better time frame to implement the funding.
"What we will do, is sit down with the NSW government and talk with them about how this project can be brought forward," he said.
"The planning hasn't been done yet. It needs to be a co-operative project. It is impossible for us in the current context to sit down with the NSW Liberal government and work through those issues, but we would do that.
"We want to advance this project in [the] first term [of government]. $50 million for a project like this, that means construction won't begin."
The M1 extension is regarded as one of the Hunter's most important infrastructure projects. It would feature 15 kilometres of dual carriageway and bypass Hexham and Heatherbrae.
A 2.6 kilometre bridge would be built over Woodlands Close, the Main Northern Railway, New England Highway and Hunter River, and new interchanges built at Black Hill, Tarro, Tomago and Raymond Terrace.
The project will require $400 million from the NSW government to go ahead.
Infrastructure Australia lists the extension as a 'priority initiative'. More than 21,000 vehicles use the M1 in the afternoon peak, a number that is expected to grow to almost 30,000 by 2031.
Labor has also recommitted $13 million towards the Pennant Street bridge, part of the long-touted Glendale transport interchange.
"Any project that unlocks massive private sector investment like this should be pursued. In my view, it's a complete no-brainer," Mr Albanese said of the bridge.
The MP called on the NSW government, which went cold on the project last year, to "govern in the interests of the state" and provide the $13 million needed to fund the $32 million project should Labor be elected at the May 18 federal election.
Lake Macquarie council would provide the additional $6 million needed.