Mayor slams WestConnex’s cost blow out

Inner West Mayor Darcy Byrne has slammed the NSW Government following revelations the cost of Stage 3 of WestConnex has ballooned by an additional $1.5 billion to a total of $8.7 billion.

Documents obtained by Sydney’s Nine News show the cost of tolls will also blow out, with the bill for regular users expected to increase from $189 a year to a massive $3040 when WestConnex opens in 2020.

Mayor Byrne said the State Government’s failure to include the $1.5 billion cost of the Rozelle Interchange in WestConnex budget was just the latest example of how secretive and wasteful the entire project has become.

“These documents show the Government has been lying about the cost of WestConnex.

“It also demonstrates this project was never about making Sydney easier to get around. It’s just about slugging motorists with new and more expensive tolls.”

The NSW Government has promised to keep the cashback scheme for the M5 South-West Motorway until at least 2026, but says it will not introduce the scheme on new or existing tunnels.

According to Channel Nine News, the documents reveal that after the M5/M5 Tunnel loses its cashback scheme in 2026, drivers will face even higher tolls of more than $4900 a year.

As a result of this cash grab, toll revenue will exceed $2.8 billion a year by 2034, with drivers expected to make 435 million trips on the toll road network.

“The State Government has shown a blatant disregard for the concerns and wellbeing of local residents, while it goes about milking even more revenue out of already hard-pressed motorists,” he said.

Adding to the financial pain to be experienced by taxpayers, a cost blow out of $1.5 billion is also expected with WestConnex’s Rozelle Interchange.

“The planning of WestConnex has been marked by ineptitude and secrecy at every turn,” said Mayor Byrne.

“These documents have finally given everyone a clear insight into the true motivations of State Government – slapping a massive new tax on Sydney’s drivers.

“WestConnex is all about the NSW Government funnelling taxpayers’ hard-earned cash to private operators in a bid to fatten up their profits.

“Now, we’ve discovered that they’ll have to spend even more taxpayers’ money on the Rozelle Interchange, which the State Government hasn’t been budgeted for.

“And to make matters worse, the State Government can’t even find a viable bidder to build the Rozelle Interchange. It’s just a ludicrous situation,” said Mayor Byrne.

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Page last updated: 16 Nov 2018