Thursday, October 11, 2012
West Connex Brings More Congestion - St Marys - Mt Druitt Star
Roads galore but drivers pay the price
By Callan Lawrence
More roads for Sydney were prioritised over rail and dedicated bus or tram corridors in the Infrastructure NSW report — but motorists driving from west to east will have to pay.
The 20-year plan for the state's infrastructure needs said "60 per cent of employment is dispersed across the metropolitan area [and] public transport cannot viably serve most of these jobs".
The plan does not propose finishing the rail link between Parramatta and Epping but suggests a $400 million bus corridor between the centres.
New tolls are likely to fund 75 per cent of the report's main project — the WestConnex motorway from Parramatta to Sydney Airport and Port Botany.
The 33-kilometre WestConnex tollway, estimated to cost $10 to $13 billion, was immediately endorsed by Premier Barry O'Farrell.
"Infrastructure NSW has conducted a rigorous appraisal of the state's infrastructure needs and we accept its view that WestConnex is the best initial project for our community and our economy," he said.
The motorway would involve widening the M4 from Parramatta, running Parramatta Road underground and bypassing the inner-west to link with an M5 East tunnel.
Mr O'Farrell said his government would put aside $1.8 billion for the tollway but did not commit to a time frame for building it.
Rather than a specific plan for the growth precincts of Blacktown and Rouse Hill, the report suggests targeted investment in roads around Parramatta.