NSW told to use toll revenue to fast-track road projects

NSW Government is being told to use billions in toll revenue to complete key road projects across the State

Australia’s peak infrastructure body is pushing for a number of key road networks to be completed ahead of schedule following the release of a report into Sydney’s toll roads.

Advisory body Ernst & Young’s report, The economic contribution of Sydney’s toll roads to NSW and Australia found Sydney’s nine tolls delivered $22.7 billion in toll revenue.

The study analysed the economic contribution of Sydney’s network of toll roads and the impact they have on productivity and commuters.

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia (IPA) General Manager Brendan Lyon says the Iemma Government should use this windfall to bankroll congestion-busting projects on number of motorways.

"There are still major broken spokes in Sydney’s road network, such as the M4 East, F3-M2 connection and the F6/M6 extension in Sydney’s south," he says.

"A real plan to ease urban congestion in Sydney must include the accelerated delivery of these missing motorways."

The report found toll roads are as big an economic contributor as Port Botany and about 1.5 times greater than the Port of Melbourne.

Lyon says the report should act as a catalyst for the Government to spend big on critical infrastructure projects.

"Congestion costs Sydney more than $4 billion every year and that figure will double by 2015 unless significant investment is undertaken in new roads and efficient new public transport," Lyon says.

"This new report shows that there is a strong economic case for NSW to begin the significant task of delivering the major road projects that will build the State’s productive capacity and ease urban congestion."

The report did not advocate expenditure on certain networks, but the authors argued for toll revenue to be used on urban planning projects, road widening to boost toll road efficiency and more efforts to use multiple transport modes to cut congestion.

The study found motorways increased vehicle cost benefits by 20 percent, travel time savings of 19 percent and accident reduction benefits by 41 percent.

Ernst & Young partner David Larocca says the report underlines the need for greater consideration in planning transport networks and the need to integrate public transport with toll roads.

"The Sydney toll road network has delivered indirect, broader economic benefits by helping improve access to areas for employment, industrial and commercial change and enhancing the industry competitiveness of Sydney," Larocca says.

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