Monday, 22 July 2019 14:33

M4 tunnels take their toll Featured

Media Release, 18 July, 2019

The opening of the M4 tunnels segment of the WestConnex motorway will bring a swifter ride for Western Sydney commuters, but at a stiff price.

The Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) welcomes the news, that the 5.5km stretch of mostly tunnelled motorway at the eastern end of the M4 is now open to motorists, allowing drivers to by-pass the congested traffic traps along Parramatta Road.

But it comes at a cost.

WSROC President Cr Barry Calvert said that revenue collected in tolls from Western Sydney commuters to pay for the motorway should be re-invested into the growing region’s public transport network, employment opportunities and social infrastructure.

 “With a four per cent annual increase on the $9.30 toll cap, the WestConnex motorway will cost Western Sydney road users over $276 billion, over the 40-year toll concession period,” said Cr Calvert.   

“This is calculated on just 60,000 road users travelling to and from their jobs in Eastern Sydney from their homes in Western Sydney, during morning and afternoon peak traffic flow periods.  We know that these figures are going to increase, not decrease”.

“Our region’s lack of local employment options or public transport alternatives means that M4 tunnels users will mostly be Western Sydney commuters, who not only must travel significant distances to get to work, but also carry the major burden for financing the cost of WestConnex,” Cr Calvert stated.

“The cost of using toll roads to get to work hits Western Sydney families hard.

“More toll roads translate to less money available for households. It means re-thinking those extra activities for the kids, missing out on going to the movies, not being in a position to manage an occasional family meal at the local,” said Cr Calvert.

Cr Calvert said that WSROC has repeatedly called for the NSW Government to act with greater transparency and a focus on equity.

“The 2017 Parliamentary Inquiry into road tolls made clear recommendations for improving road toll equity, including a network-wide cap and greater transparency on future transport projects.

“While the NSW Government has capped the toll for the entire WestConnex network at $9.30 for a car or motorcycle, there is no indication of a toll cap for motorists who are travelling across multiple motorways in Sydney – which is the reality for many Western Sydney commuters,” he said.

“WSROC re-iterates the need for a network-wide toll cap, in the interest of fairness.  

“The NSW Government must resolve to invest equitably back into the region, in social infrastructure, in local jobs and in delivering a transport network that accommodates projected population growth,” said Cr Calvert.

“$276 billion represents almost three years of the total economic output of Greater Western Sydney, Australia’s third largest economy. It must be re-invested into building better liveability for tomorrow’s Western Sydney,” he said.

 

[ENDS]

 

Media contact: Kate O’Connell, 02 9671 4333, ext 210, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

Last modified on Tuesday, 06 August 2019 16:01

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