Tolls make WestConnex a project with no winners


According to the WestConnex Updated Strategic Business Case, commuters are prepared to pay $21.32 to avoid sitting in traffic for one hour.

But according to the numbers in the Updated Strategic Business Case’s Technical Paper 2, commuters will be paying up to $80 in tolls for every hour they save – almost 4 times as much as the Business Case say they are prepared to pay.


The Updated Strategic Business Case predicts savings of between 6 and 22 minutes. The larger savings are only possible on the longer trips, such as Penrith to CBD, where commuters will pay $8.27 to save 22 minutes, a cost of $22.55 for every hour saved. Shorter trips have smaller savings – as little as 6 minutes for Liverpool to Leichardt, for which the cost is still $8.27, each way, meaning motorists will be paying $82.68 for every hour saved.

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

Of all the trips profiled in the business case, only one has a price that commuters are going to be willing to pay – Summer Hill to Airport. With tolls set to rise at 4% a year, even this trip will soon cost more than commuters are prepared to pay, and that is assuming that the forecast value of saving an hour is correct. Recent research suggests that it is not.

Professor Hensher, an expert in transport forecasting, has estimated that commuters will only pay is between $6 and $12 to avoid sitting in traffic for one hour.

Once tolling starts, commuters will abandon the M4 and M5 in droves.

WestConnex is a project with no winners.


“WestConnex Updated Strategic Business Case, Technical Paper 2 – Economic Appraisal”

“Sydney motorists unwilling to pay for more toll roads: study”

See also:

Transport for NSW’s “Principles and Guidelines for Economic Appraisal of Transport Investment and Initiatives”;


One thought on “Tolls make WestConnex a project with no winners

  1. And what about those commuting opposite the peak hour flow, or those travelling outside of peak hour? They will save no time at all but will be charged regardless, $2000+ a year for nothing.

    As for abandoning the M4 and M5 when tolling starts, I suspect the government will impede the alternative routes by manipulating the traffic light phases and reducing lanes.


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