Westconnex – For Western Sydney the great toll rip-off starts in August.

Only 6 weeks to go before Western Sydney drivers find their wallets feel a lot lighter each week as the NSW government turns on those new toll readers over the M4 near Parramatta.

How much lighter?

Try $45.00 lighter per week for most drivers.  If you drive a truck get yourself a stiff drink and sit down.

What ?  What is this new road that you will be paying through the nose to use?

Ah not quite…….You are dreaming !  

You will be paying to drive on a road you have ALREADY paid for!

Well this brand new $45.00 toll, that Premier Gladys Berejiklian is going to get you to pay each week, is for the privilege of driving on a bit of M4 surface road between James Ruse drive and Homebush Bay Drive.

Yes, that roughly 8 km bit of M4 surface road that Western Sydney paid off years ago.

So what do you get for $45.00 per week?  Apart from paying off that bit of road for a 2nd time?

Nothing much.  You will still be driving/grinding along the choked Parramatta Road from Strathfield to the Bunnings at Ashfield for years and when they do finish digging the tunnel under Parramatta Road they will charge you extra for that section.  Another $4.00 each way.

Yep in 2019 you will be paying $17.00 for a return trip to the City on the M4 from Parramatta.
$85.00 per week or $4,400 per year.   That will sting.

$45.00 for a couple of extra lanes?

At best that $45.00 per week will give you a couple of extra lanes between James Ruse drive and Homebush, that do little more than reduce the crush resulting from the thousands of extra cars flooding on the roads as the immigration minister Mr Dutton in Canberra packs Sydney with thousands of new Australians each year.

It would be nice if Mr Dutton offered to pay for the road works that his very Big Australia program requires, but don’t hold your breath as he reckons that building roads is a “state” problem and of course Gladys reckons that it should be your problem.

What if you are driving in from the south west or north west?

If you are travelling on the M7 toll road (now also needing widening) you will be looking at up to another $8.00 each way.

Bingo – $25.00  ($16.00 + $9.00) per day to get from Leppington to Olympic Park.  $125 per week.

About $6,500 per year after tax income. What is that in pre-tax income?

https://www.roam.com.au/using-westlink-m7/about/toll-pricing

So why are we building so many very expensive toll roads all of a sudden?

The answer is simple.   This is what a Big Australia population program is all about.

Filling the country with new residents as fast we currently are (approx 200,000 per years compared to the long term average of 70,000 – 80,000) costs a fortune because infrastructure is very very expensive and especially when it involves tunnels and cutting through a city that is 200 years old.   Building roads in smaller regionals cities is much cheaper.

Lets face it – if Mr Dutton was not stuffing the country with 200,000 new Australians each year and driving most of them into Sydney and Melbourne, we would not be building massive and incredibly expensive toll roads right across Sydney.

Instead of building the bits of the Sydney road network that should have been built 30 years ago we are desperately trying to fix the whole road network because ALL of it is now overloaded.

So why not catch the train?

Have you tried to catch a train on the Western Line recently?    Had much luck finding car parking near a station.  Had much luck finding a seat?

Catch the train from Leppington instead?

Well the massive new station car park at Leppington is already stuffed to its sardine gills by 8.30 am and that is without any housing or the Leppington town centre being built!  People are driving up the newly widened but already congested Camden Valley Way from miles around just to find a station they can park near.

So when will the job be done?

Currently there are over 300 construction cranes operating in Sydney and most of them are building new residential buildings.   In New York City there are 28.

With that rate of residential construction do you really think that Westconnex will solve Sydney’s road problems?

At best Westconnex might slow the rate at which the congestion gets worse.img_1079

The problem for Premier Gladys is that the congestion egg is hatching now – and will continue to hatch relentlessly while the cranes continue to build and Minister Peter Dutton stuffs more people in.

At the moment she is paying for it by selling off all the remaining public assets that Greiner and Baird did not sell and taxing /milking foreigners who she is happily allowing to buy up local housing hand over fist.

Does that sound sustainable to you?

The Westconnex thought bubble that is being built to solve Canberra’s Big Australia problem may prove to be one of Sydney’s most expensive underground car parks.

But surely car drivers should pay something?

Leaving to one side that car drivers already pay plenty in petrol taxes and car registration it is worth keeping in mind that the biggest winners from better roads are the owners of land that is connected and made valuable by better roads.

So while drivers should contribute to the cost of roads and in some circumstances might pay modest tolls to do so, why should drivers pay the biggest share and the owners of very valuable land pay next to nothing to have their land made even more valuable?

Council rates on land are barely enough to pay for garbage collection, a swimming pool, the local library and fill a few potholes.  A few more dollars on the rates of all the land that will increase in value by being connected to or being close to Westconnex will allow for much lower tolls. Keep in mind that all that land east of Westconnex also benefits when people from Western Sydney can drive to work so don’t buy the claim that only Western sydney land benefits.   Lots of people should be contributing to the cost of roadworks as lots of land increases in value from better roads.

Anything who thinks that paying $45.00 per week, to drive on a road they already paid off with another $40 per week to come in 2019, is reasonable is probably not planning on paying the toll.

Odds on they live east of Westconnex.

But before pitting drivers against land owners don’t forget these big projects are being driven by the big business Big Australia campaigners.

ACT NOW – Before it is too late

Today Premier Gladys announced that she is keen to flog off Westconnex as early as next year.  There is a reason for that.   Selling it off with massive tolls will make it much more valuable to some foreign pension fund who love a nice income stream.

Basically she wants top dollar for her ‘Gouge a Westie Wallet” project.  Once Westconnex is sold you will have buckley’s of getting the tolls reduced because the new owners will demand compensation for the reduced value of their “asset” if the tolls are reduced.

If you don’t like the sound of your wallet crying for the next 20 years it is critical to sort this issue out before Premier Gladys flogs off Westconnex.  Demand that she seriously cut the tolls and find some other way of paying for roads that have more to do with the Big Business obsession with a Big Australia than improving your commute to work.

The only thing pollies value are their jobs so give Premier Gladys and your local member a call, drop them a line, tweet them or facebook them and let them know what YOU think about paying through the nose for Mr Dutton’s very Big Australia program.

UPDATE – BREAKING NEWS

NSW Treasurer promises to double the rate of housing construction.

“..The Treasurer, Dominic Perrottet, said about 75,000 homes were expected to be built next financial year, double the long-term average of 40,000.

“We are about to embark on a construction boom,” Mr Perrottet said…”

http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/nsw-budget-201718-councils-under-pressure-to-deliver-more-homes-20170619-gwu3ul.html

Looks like 330+ construction cranes in Sydney is not enough.

How can Westconnex improve road congestion when the NSW and Australian government are determined to pump Sydney full of people until the pips squeak.

Building more housing “more supply” will not help make housing more affordable if new people are arriving in Sydney faster than ever.

Sydney you are being taken for a ride……and it will cost you dearly.

3 thoughts on “Westconnex – For Western Sydney the great toll rip-off starts in August.

  1. It’s tough on Western Sydney commuters, but is there any alternative to the User-Pays principle?. Subsidies, toll-refunds just create distortions elsewhere. The tipping point from Greater Sydney to regional areas must be found. NSW Govt should plan for this, and build regional infrastructure now.

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    • I think there is a better alternative to the user pays principle and that is that those that receive a benefit from the infrastructure contribute towards the cost. The trouble will relying on a pure “User Pays” model for transport related infrastructure is that those that do not use it but benefit from it are free riders.

      When a road or rail line or bus route is built or established it adds great utility to the land at either end and right along the route and that increases the value of the land. If only the people “Using” the road, rail or bus pay, the owners of land are receiving a free and often very substantial benefit. Sydney land price growth in recent years being just a very clear example of land benefiting from public expenditure on infrastructure over many decades.

      The easiest way to share the ‘cost’ of providing infrastructure is to split the cost between actual users and those that derive a real benefit from the infrastructure whether or not they use it.

      Land users can contribute by a greater level of rates on the unimproved value of their landholdings. Call this additional rate something like – regional infrastructure contribution rate. It will then be very easy to identify how much different areas contributed towards infrastructure and spend it accordingly. Combined with reasonable user charges (tolls, fares) infrastructure can be funded without one group picking up the entire tab and another group (land owners) paying very little.

      I agree about regional infrastructure as even with the above approach there is nothing to stop the government allocating additional infrastructure funds to a regional location so as to attract residents, business and industry and increase the value of the land and thereby the level of future regional infrastructure contribution rates from the region.

      Currently we do not connect land – the very thing that benefits most from infrastructure with making a contribution towards its creation and maintenance.

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  2. I haven’t been to Sydney for several years but peak hour on the main western line is pretty horrible (even with double-decker trains), I guess they’re banking on capturing some of those people. Anyway Gladys is no fool, she’s already making it clear that post-politics she will be on the board of Transurban or similar.

    Liked by 1 person

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