Last week the New South Wales Government suggested the toll on the M5 West be extended by a massive 34 years to help fund another motorway – WestConnex.
Charging motorists who use one motorway to build another would be a major breach of faith for those in South West Sydney who may never even use WestConnex – a 33km motorway that will run from Sydney’s west to the airport.
In October of 2013 the NSW Government stated in a media release: “The NSW and Australian Governments are providing $3.3 billion in funding for the $11-$11.5 billion project, with the remainder to be financed by tolls.”
The media release contained no mention that the toll concession for the M5 would need to be extended by 34 years in order to fund WestConnex.
The M5 was originally due to revert to public ownership this year, but an extension was granted that saw the toll concession extended to 2026.
Under the new WestConnex funding proposal, that would again be extended until 2060.
The move would be against the fair user-pays philosophy and NRMA President Kyle Loades said decisions such as this cannot be made without the proper consultation.
“What we don’t want to see is major funding decisions which directly affect the affordability of motoring in this state being made behind closed doors, without any form of community consultation,” he said.
“The NRMA is deeply concerned that the decision to consider extending the concession period on the M5 has been made without due consideration of the long term implications that extending the tolling period would have on motorists.”
Mr Loades said he was concerned the extension would further add to the cost of motoring for many drivers in New South Wales and hit the hip pocket of M5 users who regularly have to suffer car-park like conditions on the road.
“Motorists are already heavily taxed through the fuel excise, registration and tolling and shouldn’t pay a cent more to drive on Sydney motorways – many of which are congested during peak hours.”
Do you agree that a toll should apply only to the road you are using?