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Greiner unveils $30 billion NSW infrastructure plan

Road freight in New South Wales was high on Infrastructure NSW Chairman Nick Greiner’s agenda when overseeing the production of First Things First: The State Infrastructure Strategy 2012-2032.

It is projected to cost $30 billion over 20 years, of which the Government's load would be $20 billion, while economic benefits are put at $50 billion.

By Rob McKay | October 3, 2012

Road freight in New South Wales was high on Infrastructure NSW Chairman Nick Greiner’s agenda when overseeing the production of First Things First: The State Infrastructure Strategy 2012-2032.

It is projected to cost $30 billion over 20 years, of which the Government’s load would be $20 billion, while economic benefits are put at $50 billion.

The 211-page report that has been awaited eagerly by transport and public alike since Coalition Government announced it last year, has a heavy Sydney focus and includes significant analysis on energy water and health – but transport is centre stage.

“For every dollar that has been wasted on abandoned or poorly scoped projects, there is a commuter whose train journey is significantly longer than it should be and a business whose road freight transport costs could have been reduced by well-directed investment,” Greiner says in his foreword.

Infrastructure NSW CEO Paul Broad also has a keen eye to freight matters, touching on the trade benefits of road and rail infrastructure improvements if the report’s prescriptions are realised in full.

In presenting a vision of 2032, Broad predicts, amongst other things, a time when the “efficient flow of goods from Port Botany and Sydney Airport to the logistics hub in Western Sydney and regional areas has been secured”.

Further afield, he sees a booming Newcastle region featuring upgrades “to the F3, and increased efficiency at the port, have made the movement of passengers and freight around the Hunter seamless”.

Freight projects

The report splits the state into three areas: the internationally focused Global Sydney, Greater Sydney and Regional NSW.

Of Sydney’s roads, the report says the “most pressing investment needs occur on the M4 and M5 corridors because of their importance to the freight and business transport task; connecting Global Sydney to the international gateways with industries and residential areas in the West and South-West”.

It proposes the $10 billion “WestConnex” scheme integrating the M4 extension from Parramatta towards the airport with an expansion of the M5 east and describes regeneration of the Parramatta Road corridor and public transport improvements as “integral”.

It also backs the F3-M2 link and F6 extension, bringing northern and southern connections up to motorway standard.

Tolls on new and upgraded motorway links and “value capture from beneficiaries of new infrastructure, where feasible” would help defray the cost.

The suggested freight-related timelines give the highest priority, to be tackled in the next five years, to:

  • Global Sydney – fixing “road pinch points and improved public transport” at Port Botany and the airport;
  • Greater Sydney – pinch points in Parramatta and other Greater Sydney growth areas, along with the F3-M2 project and preserving motorway corridors including the Outer Western Sydney Orbital;
  • Regional NSW – regional freight road and rail pinch points, a review of the scope and costs of and continued construction of the Pacific and Princess highways, completion of the Northern Sydney Rail Freight Corridor, targeted Bridges for the Bush upgrades.

Between 2017 and 2022, it advises supporting infrastructure for the Moorebank intermodal terminal be constructed and rollout of the Managed Motorways program; the Pacific Highway duplication be completed and that of the Princes Highway to the Jervis Bay turnoff and the extension of the F3 to the Pacific Highway at Raymond Terrace.

By 2032, it seeks the start of planning for a Western Sydney Regional Airport, as well as completion of a “transitway” from Parramatta to Epping/Macquarie Park and the Maldon to Dombarton rail freight line.

Funding

On funding, users would pay $7.5 billion of the estimated $10 billion cost of WestConnex, and $2 billion of the $3 billion F6 extension.

Government would shoulder all the $300 million each for port, airport and Parramatta pinch points and Managed Motorways, $300 million for Bridges for the Bush; $1 billion on regional pinch points; $900 million for the F3 extension to Raymond Terrace.

The report backs motorway tolling as being effective for urgent projects while warning of the unpopularity of the disconnect between such funding and actual upgrades.

It also notes that the Draft Transport Master Plan proposes the introduction of distance-based tolling on motorways and recommends that “focus is placed on tolling only new and upgraded roads”.

“This approach will allow an incremental introduction of distance based tolling on the Sydney motorway network as it is expanded”, over the next 20 years, it adds.

WestConnex tolling will be capped for cars, as on the M7, but higher for trucks and commercial vehicles, as on the M2.

A rate is yet to be determined and time of day tolling is rejected to control congestion.

“However, some form of dynamic tolling may be considered at particular pinch points to avoid overloading the legacy road network,” the report says.

Public Private Partnerships will also be part of the infrastructure building mix.

The full report can be read at:

http://www.infrastructure.nsw.gov.au/pdfs/SIS_Report_Complete_Print.pdf

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