This opinion piece by Tony Shepherd, Chairman of the WestConnex Delivery Authority, has highlighted the real economic benefits of Westconnex.
“WestConnex will cost $11-$11.5 billion to build in three stages over 10 years, and will deliver more than $20 billion in economic benefits to the NSW economy.” Not only will Westconnex ease congestion and connect suburbs it will also create 10,000 jobs and uplift property prices. Tony highlighted just how dire the situation could become with Sydney’s population expected to increase by 1.3 million over the next 20 years. The cost of congestion will only worsen unless action is such as Westconnex is taken. Currently “traffic congestion costs an estimated $5.1 billion a year, or nearly $1100 every year for every person living here. Think of the new schools, better hospitals and extra police officers that could fund.” The idea behind Westconnex is to link the outer suburbs with the CBD, Airport and Ports of Sydney through a combination of tunnels and roads. By moving a number of cars and trucks off Parramatta Road it is hoped that urban renewal will ensue. Tony explained “this is exactly what occurred to the inner suburbs of Redfern and Surry Hills after the Eastern Distributor was built in 1999, suburbs have been reborn into thriving communities, complete with schools, café cultures, child care centres, and renewed investment.” As we know most of Sydney’s motorways have been privately financed, with a number of key projects failing. Westconnex will be funded by $3.3 billion from Government (a combination of Commonwealth and State) Plus roughly $8 Billion in private investment. The large investment from the private sector will see more industry consultation on exactly how Westconnex will be delivered. Tony notes, “We need to get this right. It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to link the city’s west with its east, and unlock the untapped potential that offers.”