The WestConnex Updated Strategic Business Case shows that drivers will be paying up to $8.27 (each way) to save as little as 5 minutes. Truckies will pay three times that. And tax-payers will pay too.
The business case shows that the cost of using WestConnex will be (2016 numbers):
- flag-fall: $1.17
- per kilometre: $0.44
- capped at $8.27
- payable in: both directions
- goes up by: 4% a year
Someone using WestConnex for a 16km commute would be paying $82,70 a week, and more, if they have to use other toll roads as well.
Exactly how much you pay, and how much you save, depends on where you are travelling from and to.
If the predicted time savings are right, and there’s no guarantee that they are, but if they are, then these are some samples of what you’ll pay, and what you’ll save, and how many dollars it will cost you to not sit in traffic for one hour:
|Distance||Cost||Without WestConnex||With WestConnex||Time saved||$cost /hr saved|
|Sydney University to Wattle St, Ashfield||7 km||$4.22||25 min||15 min||10 min||$25.33|
|Liverpool to Leichardt||30 km||$8.27||55 min||49 min||6 min||$82.68|
|Liverpool to Sydney University||30 km||$8.27||61 min||49 min||12 min||$41.34|
|Summer Hill to Airport||9 km||$5.10||41 min||26 min||15 min||$20.38|
|Strathfield to Airport||15 km||$7.72||41 min||25 min||16 min||$28.94|
|Parramatta to CBD||35 km||$8.27||46 min||38 min||8 min||$62.01|
|Penrith to Airport||60 km||$8.27||74 min||58 min||16 min||$31.01|
|Penrith to CBD||57 km||$8.27||89 min||67 min||22 min||$22.55|
The tolls will cover the cost of running WestConnex, but not the cost of building it.
For several recent toll roads, tolls have only covered 1/3 of the cost of construction. The New M5 will carry less traffic than the Cross City Tunnel, but it will cost far more to build. WestConnex will cost at least $18B to build. The cost has been blowing out at $2B a year, every year, since it was announced. If the WestConnex can somehow be sold for $6B, then the cost to the taxpayer will still be $12B, or about $3,000 per person in Sydney, and it will mean we have privatised the M4 and the M5.
Those that can’t afford the toll, or just choose not to pay it, will be forced on Parramatta Rd, Stoney Creek Rd and other roads that are already congested. These roads are going to get worse when WestConnex opens.
This is how WestConnex can promise time savings – not by making the M4 and M5 better than they are now, but because the tolls will force people off the M4 and M5, and onto other roads.
WestConnex is a project with no winners. If you use it, you will pay a lot of money to save not a lot of time. If you don’t use it, your trip will take longer than if WestConnex was not built. And whether or not you use, you will pay for the building of it.
WestConnex is spending $18B to make Sydney’s traffic worse.