Tuesday, September 24, 2013

A day after being sworn in, the Coalition Government in Canberra has announced a raft of road-building programs.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss joined NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell and Roads and Ports Minister Duncan Gay to release the detailed business case supporting the construction of WestConnex in Sydney.

"I want to be known as an infrastructure prime minister and I want building the roads of the 21st Century to be a hallmark of my government," Mr Abbott said.

"Getting cracking on WestConnex was a solemn commitment that I made to the people of Western Sydney, so I'm excited that just a day after forming government, WestConnex is coming closer.

"Building WestConnex is proof that federal and state Coalition governments can work closely together to deliver better infrastructure for Sydney."

Mr Truss said the Government was wasting no time in getting on with the job of building the [road] infrastructure that will unclog Sydney for both freight and passengers.

"We made a $1.5 billion commitment to WestConnex and we are starting to deliver," Mr Truss said.

"WestConnex is a long-term vision for Sydney's future and is needed to cater for the additional 1.3 million people calling it home over the next 20 years.

"WestConnex is one of Australia's biggest transport projects. It will improve people's travel times, create new jobs, boost economic activity in Western Sydney and help breathe new life into Parramatta Road.

"What we see is a massive backlog in freight in Sydney with links with the airport and port to the west not able to cope with demand. It is costing the state and national economies billions.

"In fact, estimates have put the cost of congestion in Sydney at around $8.8 billion by 2020.

"The 33 kilometre motorway linking the CBD, west, south-west, airport and port will return some $20 billion to the NSW economy."

By building WestConnex some 52 sets of traffic lights will be avoided, saving up to 40 minutes in travel time between Parramatta and SydneyAirport.

The WestConnex project is expected to be completed by 2023.

Along with WestConnex, the Federal Government has also committed $405 million to get Sydney's F3 to M2 started by late 2014.

These Sydney road projects are part of the Federal Government's nationwide major roads blueprint, which also includes:

$6.7 billion to fix Queensland's Bruce Highway;
$5.6 billion to complete the duplication of the Pacific Highway from Newcastle to the Queensland border;
$1.5 billion to get Melbourne's East West Link underway;
$1 billion to support the Gateway Motorway upgrade in Brisbane;
$615 million to build the Swan Valley Bypass on the Perth to Darwin Highway;
$686 million to finish the Perth Gateway without a mining tax;
$500 million to support the upgrade of Adelaide's North-South Road Corridor;
$400 million to upgrade the Midland Highway in Tasmania.
Mr Truss said the Coalition will also get the Toowoomba Second Range [road] Crossing under way and has committed $130 million to the project over the forward estimates.

The only rail project mentioned was $300 million to finalise plans, engineering design and environmental assessments for the Melbourne to Brisbane inland rail.


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