Email NSW politicians to support an Inquiry into WestCONnex
Dr Mehreen Faruqi MLC has given notice of a parliamentary inquiry into the WestConnex Tollway. Even the incoming WestConnex CEO is concerned about risks of WestConnex’s traffic forecasts not being accurate, despite billions of dollars being fast tracked from the Federal Government. Government claims of a cost benefit ratio of 2.5 have no transparent evidence. If the numbers on the WestConnex tollway stack up, they should release the business case.
The Environmental Impact Statement has not even been put on public display yet, but the Government is already pushing ahead with the project, making community consultation meaningless. It is unacceptable that the public will shoulder the risk of inaccurate traffic forecasts and pay tolls, including the re-tolling of the M4. Nothing short of a parliamentary inquiry can untangle the mess that is the WestConnex tollway. Sydney has a congestion problem, but WestConnex will not reduce congestion; it will contribute to pollution and global warming and divert massive public funds from investment in integrated transport solutions for the 21st Century.
Five questions which need answers:
- Why has the public has been given no evidence to show that WestConnex will solve traffic congestion in Sydney? Why hasn’t the Government released standard traffic numbers, traffic flow and traffic modelling information despite numerous requests and even a Call for Papers from MPs?
- Who gets to see the business case and cost-benefit analysis? What scrutiny has been undertaken by independent third parties? Why aren’t they in the public domain?
- Is investment in public transport a better way to reduce traffic congestion? Has that been investigated as an alternative to a $15 billion tollway?
- How much will the WestConnex pay-as-you-go toll actually cost drivers from Western Sydney? How much will it cost homeowners and business owners along the road corridor?
- Does the Government intend to nominate the WestConnex corridor as State Significant development so that it can take over planning controls? Does it intend to rezone to higher density and compulsorily acquire property along the corridor?
The Government has consistently refused to answer these questions and others. I believe the only way we are going to get answers to these questions is with a Parliamentary Inquiry into the WestConnex Tollway. Upper house MPs will vote on whether to support an Inquiry on June 17.
To The Honourable
I write to strongly encourage you to support the call for a NSW Upper House Select Committee Inquiry into the proposed WestConnex tollway. The State and Federal Governments are committing at least $11 billion to this project but as yet no business case and no cost-benefit analysis has been made available for public scrutiny.
In addition, despite repeated requests, the public is being kept in the dark on traffic forecasts, preferred routes, traffic modelling and potential travel time savings, and the financing plans that should underpin a project of this magnitude.
This continuing lack of disclosure is remarkable. Such information is fundamental to the project’s viability and the NSW Government’s reluctance to divulge it is of great concern.
An Upper House Select Committee Inquiry would assist public understanding of WestConnex because the NSW Government’s partial release of documentation relating to it in March 2014 did not answer ongoing community questions.
The public has a right to know about:
- The cost-benefit analysis and business case for WestConnex, compared to investment in alternative public transport options for Greater Sydney
- How proposed urban activation precincts along the WestConnex corridor will affect WestConnex’s traffic flow and numbers
- How the environmental, recreational space and heritage impacts of WestConnex will affect the wider community
- The relationship and integration with other existing road systems and public transport.
I trust you share my concerns that so little information about the WestConnex project is being made available to the public while at the same time the project is being fast tracked. Please support the call for an Upper House Select Committee Inquiry into the WestConnex tollway.