Sale of toll road should buy better public transport

Article image - Sale of toll road should buy better public transport

New South Wales’ (NSW) sell off of the Sydney Motorway Corporation will help fund the final stage of the WestConnex Motorway but can locals expect to see the windfall reinvested  in public transport?

The New South Wales Treasurer is adding the final touches to the budget due for release on 20 June. Elevated to that position following Premier Berejiklian’s promotion in January, Dominic Perrottet will continue in the same mode as his predecessor with the sale of another of the state’s major assets.

The WestConnex motorway is predicted to now be sold in total rather than the 51% stake proposed just two weeks ago.

For local councils and residents how proceeds of the sale are spent is of major interest.

Any revenue made from the sale of WestConnex should be reinvested in public transport for Western Sydney says the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC).

WSROC President, Councillor Stephen Bali said, “The Government tells us that Western Sydney residents will be paying for WestConnex. It only makes sense that they should benefit from the proceeds if it is sold.

“WSROC wants to see this money invested in a public transport network that will allow the soon-to-be 3million Western Sydney residents get around our city without needing to pay expensive road use charges,” said Cr Bali.

“The current public transport situation in Western Sydney is dire. WestConnex is an opportunity to tackle some of the region’s key infrastructure gaps.

“By the admission of NSW Minister for Transport, Andrew Constance, The Western Rail Line is overcrowded and will soon be unable to handle more passengers.

“Western Sydney’s bus network is limited and infrequent in all but the most heavily populated corridors, making it an impractical alternative to driving in many cases.

“The majority of Western Sydney’s major employment hubs and industrial centres are not serviced by public transport, forcing locally employed residents to drive – often significant distances,” said Cr Bali.

“We encourage the NSW Government to work with councils regarding how these infrastructure gaps could be addressed through the sale of WestConnex.”