WestConnex Business Case Just One Big Con

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No WestConnex Public Transport: Media Release  20 November 2015 

The “Strategic” Business Case for the 35-kilometre series of WestConnex Tollways has finally been released. It has no attributed author. The total cost is now predicted to be $16.8 billion. When it was announced in October 2012, the original cost of WestConnex was $10 billion. How high will these costs go?

There is still no completed design for the main justification for the entire WestConnex project – its links to Sydney Airport and Port Botany. There are no plans for financing Stage 3.

It fails as a document to entice investors.

The calculation of the BCR (benefit cost ratio) has a number of spurious assumptions and is highly sensitive to estimated traffic speed and volume.

These figures have been wildly overestimated in other recent projects such as the Lane Cove tunnel and the Cross City tunnel.

The NSW Government’s Assessment Report on WestConnex Stage One demonstrates that if WestConnex is built, Sydney’s road speeds will fall from 34 km/h today to 28 km/h by 2031.

When the questionable ‘wider economic benefits’ and the ‘travel time cost savings’ are excluded ($2.1B and $12.9B respectively) and the latest cost estimate is used, the BCR comes out at a loss-making 0.55.

In other words for each $1 spent $0.45c is lost.

The fallacy of ‘wider economic benefits’ was a key reason for the new Victorian Government’s abandonment of the East-West Tunnel project one year ago.

The Business Case admits to ‘surface road congestion’ at Rozelle, Concord, St Peters and Haberfield; locals in these areas call this effect ‘Tollways to Traffic Jams.’

The Business case details increased traffic along Victoria and Parramatta Roads.

Any social benefit that might be expected when the tollways open – a predicted travel saving time of 6 minutes – comes at enormous social costs: additional people effected by noise and pollution, homes lost, and the loss of equity in the provision of efficient public transport.

For media enquiries and interview:

Mathew Hounsell, Convenor EcoTransit Sydney: 0425 211 120

Cassi Plate, Convenor NoWestCONnex Public Transport Inc