Public transport group EcoTransit says WestConnex is $15 billion down a hole

Public transport advocacy group EcoTransit Sydney today published 50,000 copies of a newspaper about the WestConnex project that will be distributed free to communities across Sydney over the coming week.

The EcoTransit team claim that the WestConnex would be the biggest underground motorway in the world and per kilometre, the most expensive. The group, which is well known for its work promoting public transport solutions, argues that “global experience since the 1950s has conclusively demonstrated that urban motorways are counterproductive.”

An analysis of WestConnex’s traffic data (p.4) points to figures in the EIS for the M4 widening between Parramatta and Homebush which show that Parramatta Rd will carry 35% more traffic by 2021. Even by 2031, it will be 16% more. These increases will be mostly due to diversion from the M4 which will be tolled again.

Using the traffic data in the WestConnex EIS, the EcoTransit team have analysed the impact of the project on local roads and concluded: “traffic volumes on local roads are higher with the M4 East motorway and full WestConnex motorway scheme in place than they would be without them.” This will dismay those who are hoping that the WestConnex would relieve them of wasted hours sitting in traffic jams.

EcoTransit argues that traffic volumes will remain high because the “motorway will unleash another round of induced traffic growth and significant sections of the network are needed to act as feeder routes” for the M4 tollway.

The group recommends “outright rejection’ to those considering submissions and concludes, “An EIS is supposed to honestly and fully discuss the costs and economic benefits as well as the social and environmental effects of a project as well as alternatives to it, but the EIS for the M4 East section of the EIS is no more than a shoddy and evasive sales pitch.”

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