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20-year blueprint to improve roads

Posted by: 2UE | 3 October, 2012 - 12:29 PM
Why is the infrastructure minister playing politics with NSW?

A $10-billion motorway connecting western Sydney with the CBD and airport, funded in part by tolls, has been identified as the highest priority project in a 20-year infrastructure plan for New South Wales.

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Paul Murray with NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell, who along with Treasurer Mike Baird is calling on the federal government to contribute some of the $2.5 billion needed to start the WestConnex project.

Mr O'Farrell says the state government would pump $1.8 billion into the project that Infrastructure NSW identified as the main priority in a report released on Wednesday.

The $10 billion tollway will link Sydney's west with the airport and Port Botany and will save between 15 and 35 minutes on the journey.


INSW recommends 70 projects and reforms over five, 10 and 20 years, which will cost $30 billion but which it says will add $50 billion to the state's economy.

The priority is the 33km WestConnex motorway, which will integrate the proposed M4 East motorway connecting the existing M4 to the city with an extension of the M5 East.

Other recommendations include a $2 billion underground bus rapid transit system to be built in the next five to 10 years, to take peak buses off congested Sydney CBD streets.

About $9 billion should also be spent on projects in regional NSW such as upgrading bridges and fixing rail and road bottlenecks, the plan said.

INSW also said $7.5 billion should be invested in rail services over the next 20 years, in addition to the billions in funding for the north-west rail link.

To fund the plan INSW has recommended a mix of state funding, private investment and user pays such as tolls on new or upgraded motorways.

Addressing public cynicism fuelled by the failure of previous governments to deliver on transport or infrastructure plans, Mr Greiner said INSW's 20-year strategy was "practical", and "I hope it is real".

"The last thing that the average person in NSW needs is another theoretical exercise, another exercise that isn't practical in the sense of being able to be achieved, and having a serious likelihood of being achieved," the former NSW premier told reporters in Sydney.

"The only thing that matters is what happens; the rest of it frankly is fluffing about."

Mr Greiner said NSW infrastructure wasn't suffering from a lack of investment, but wrong spending priorities.

"The problem is we have been spending it badly and spending it on the wrong things," he said.

INSW's Paul Broad declared the plan affordable and said the list of priority projects targeted regions and sectors where economic growth was being hamstrung by inadequate infrastructure.

"$10 (billion) of the $30 (billion) is in user charges, $20 (billion) is government spend," Mr Broad said.

"$20 (billion) over 20 years is a (billion) a year, in a capital spend of $15 (billion) a year. Six per cent, which is more than affordable within the current spends."

The strategy will now be considered by the state government, who will decide which of the recommendations to adopt.

NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell is expected on Wednesday to commit $2 billion to the WestConnex motorway. (AAP)

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Blog comments Your Say

  • This much needed infrastructure for NSW would never have happened under the now defunct labor party - State or Federal. Remember, Mr Duckmouth, in the personage of Bob Carr sat on his hands for 10 years as NSW Premier and achieved NOTHING.

    Jonathon L Benson Thursday 4 October, 2012 - 6:42 AM

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