Monday, 1 December 2014

Westconnex "Lemon" gone from $10 billion to $20 billion & no-one yet knows the route

Touted as the solution to Sydney's gridlock, the solution to Port Botany transportation of freight and ending the transportation of nightmare from Sydney's Kingsford-Smith airport the Westconnex project remains the "lemon" I said it was on 3 October 2012. Then it was a $10 million "lemon", now it is a $20 billion "lemon", and the NSW Liberals have no idea where the road is going.

There is no route, no modelling, no design and no costing. This road goes nowhere near Port Botany and the amount of containers being moved by rail has fallen in the last 3 years from 25% to 12% with container movements to increase by 294%. The NSW economy is going to grind to a halt as this poorly planned sea port will not be able to move imports and exports in and out of Australia.

The NSW Opposition today has slammed the Baird Liberal Government for its inept management of the WestConnex motorway project with the fifth major change to the route  the cost of the project has doubled to $20 billion before a single sod has been turned in construction.

Shadow Roads Minister Michael Daley has pointed out today since the original WestConnex concept released by Infrastructure NSW in 2012, the motorway project has been redesigned by the Liberal Government a further four times while the cost has skyrocketed to $20 billion.

So far the Government has announced five WestConnex routes, including:

1. Original Infrastructure NSW concept (Eastern Distributor style cut and cover)

2. NSW Government’s WestConnex plan (all tunnel, no cut and cover)

3. Addition of Northern and South extensions

4. New M5 Motorway concept released (two new four lane tunnels/St Peters Interchange)

5. Western Harbour Tunnel realignment of Section 3 (Haberfield to St Peters)

“The Liberals made a promise before the last election to start construction on either the M4 East or the M5 East before the next election – yet no major works will have been commenced on either project and the start is still years away, Michael Daley said.

“The Liberals magic pudding promises have also seen the total cost of the project blow out to $20 billion according to today’s media reports.

“The Liberals have been fiddling around with lines on maps for the past four years instead of getting on with the job.

“How can motorists in Sydney have any faith in the Liberals’ grandiose infrastructure promises when they can’t control the cost of their flagship road project or even start construction of it as they promised before the last election?”

Mr Daley said Mike Baird and the Liberals were promising well in excess of $20 billion worth of infrastructure if they privatize the electricity network – yet these are just empty promises that are unfunded and cannot be believed.

“Mike Baird is traveling around NSW with his privatization magic pudding promising everything to everyone – the reality is that his projects are blowing out before they have even left the drawing board and not even this magic pudding is going to save his empty and unfunded promises.

“Mike Baird and the Liberals are keeping the public in the dark on the cost blow outs and route details of the WestConnex while selectively leaking animations and pictures to the media.

“This is not the way you plan and build major infrastructure in a global city like Sydney.

“The only thing the people of NSW will get out from the Liberals will be glossy brochures and empty promises.”

Michael Daley is right on the money.

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