Wednesday, 3 October 2012

WestConnex A $10 Billion Lemon

The NSW government's WestConnex proposal is a $10 billion lemon that does not address the Port Botany and Sydney Airport gridlock.

Dusting off shelved RTA plans and offering it up to the public as an efficient way to move freight across NSW and asserting it will deliver more than $15 billion to the state's economy is just fantasyland stuff. 

The WestConnex proposal does not even go near Port Botany or Sydney Airport, let alone provide an efficient road system to enable the movement of freight and passengers. 

Infrastructure NSW assessment of the "Current State of Infrastructure" (Table 2.3) for Port Botany describes its capacity as adequate and the congestion problems are caused by lack of integration between, port, road and rail. 

In reality the congestion is caused by failure of the rail infrastructure (currently at 14%) to reach the 40% that was planned and the total gridlock of the current road system. 

At first glance the route proposed by WestConnex looks good and seems to offer hope to a frustrated public. This is the nirvana they have been waiting for. However an examination of Table 6.4 shows that the route to the west of Sydney Airport and Port Botany is just in the wrong place. Figure 2.4 shows that passenger movements at Sydney Airport will in the next 19 years increase by 98% and freight demand from Port Botany will increase by 272%. 

How are all these vehicles going to access WestConnex? Where in the strategy does it provide a solution? After all, surely the NSW government would not commit $10 billion to an infrastructure project that does not deal with the biggest road block to Australia's major sea port and airport. 

This proposal is nothing more than a political solution to get the government past the next election and give the impression it is doing something. 

Where are the details?

Response: There must be consultation and environmental assessment

Where are the stacks from the tunnel to be located? After all WestConnex is a tunnel under the dense population of the inner city? 

Response: We don't know that and we will take care of any health effects

Where are the dangerous goods vehicles going to travel as they can't use a tunnel?  

Response: We have not worked it out yet

How does this proposal deliver up more than $15 billion to the state's economy?  

Response: Just take our word for it.

"Don't you worry about that."

What famous conservative political leader coined that phrase?  

The thought of being on a motorway from the M4 to the WestConnex tunnel then onto the duplicated M5 tunnel with no congestion makes you feel wonderful … so does a tunnel at Luna Park.

What has this government being doing for 18 months? 

It does not take 18 months to come up with a Luna Park tunnel with no details and no funding models. 

The public should fear that this government does not have the intellectual rigour to efficiently construct the rear lane of a suburban street, let alone to solve the biggest road block to the gateway for NSW and Australia and its economy.

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