If allowed to go ahead, the WestConnex motorway in Sydney would be a boon for road construction companies and bankers and a burden on ordinary people.
The NSW government is pushing the $11 billion tollway project despite polls showing that 60-70% of people think that the money would be better spent on public transport.
Initial funding will be provided by the state and federal governments with additional funding coming from borrowing. Once traffic usage and profitability are known the government would then hand the project over to the private sector. In other words taxpayers take the risk while big business reaps guaranteed profits.
It has been suggested that WestConnex could also be part funded by extending existing tollways in western Sydney for another 60 years. It is estimated that a return trip to the city from Parramatta would cost at least $14.
The tollway would result in increased pollution and increased congestion in areas as it attracts more traffic to the road network. Heritage bushland and local parks will also be concreted over.
The real solution to Sydney’s traffic problems is investment in public transport. Public transport creates more skilled jobs in the long term and is better for the environment.
By Gary Duffy