RESIDENTS have reacted with anger to the latest revelations about the planning of toll road projects in NSW, which show that NSW government has been instructing transport officials to ignore public transport alternatives to strengthen the case for these roads.
The explosive revelations made by Fairfax Media today show that planners for the F6/Southern Connector, Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link toll roads – all of which are “expected to increase traffic on the $16.8 billion WestConnex project” – were told not to consider public transport when assessing alternatives. In the case of the F6, Fairfax reported a rail alternative could have cost taxpayers $10 billion less.
“These latest revelations prove that the transport planning process in NSW has been completely corrupted," said WestCONnex Action Group spokesperson Rhea Liebmann.
“Every business case should include a thorough assessment of the alternatives to the project being proposed – especially when we as taxpayers are footing the bill.
“Now we know that Gladys Berejiklian’s government didn’t just fail to assess alternatives when planning tollways like the F6, Beaches Link and WestConnex’s Western Harbour Tunnel. It actually ordered transport planners not to consider public transport alternatives that could have moved more people, with less pollution and destruction – and saved billions of taxpayer dollars in the process.
“The WestConnex business case was also heavily criticised for its failure to properly assess alternatives to the $17 billion tollway, including public transport options.
“Residents of NSW cannot have any faith in a government that ignores public transport in favour of building secretive, destructive and expensive tollways that will only benefit private toll road companies – companies that just happen to make big donations to that government.
“The only right for Premier Berejiklian to do now is to halt these projects, including WestCONnex, and conduct a full review that includes a proper assessment of public transport alternatives,” said Ms Liebmann.
Ms Liebmann plans to raise these concerns when she speaks on behalf of the WestCONnex Action Group at the NSW Legislative Council’s inquiry into road tolling in Penrith on Wednesday 12 April.
Media contacts: Rhea Liebmann 0410 517 343, Pauline Lockie 0414 470 106
Fairfax story: bit.ly/2nS8F7r
Road tolling inquiry details: bit.ly/tollsinquiry