PRESS RELEASE: GOVERNMENT’S OWN NUMBERS SHOW NEW M5 WILL BE A WORSE DISASTER THAN THE CROSS-CITY TUNNEL

Alexandria Residents Action Group condemns yesterday’s approval of the New M5.

The New M5 will be a financial disaster for the NSW budget, and for motorists who currently use the M4 and the M5 for free.

The project will not reduce overall congestion.

Ministers Stokes and Gay are misrepresenting the New M5 EIS. It does not show reductions in congestion.

On the contrary, the EIS shows that congestion will continue to worsen. All the EIS claims is that congestion would be even worse if the project does not proceed – and the modelling to support this claim has not been released for independent examination.

The Government’s own figures show the New M5 will increase congestion on local arterial and local roads. One such road is Euston Rd, Alexandria. The Government’s own EIS estimates that traffic on this road will increase from 7,000 cars a day, to 61,000 cars. This is more than the New M5 will carry. Euston Rd cannot handle these traffic volumes. Widening the M5 does nothing if it still ends in a traffic jam.

Ministers Stokes and Gay also misrepresent the WestConnex Business Case. It does not claim that the project will be revenue positive. It only claims that benefits exceed its costs – and benefits are not revenue.

These benefits rely on the assumption that the average commuter can afford to pay $38.67 in tolls to save just one hour of time. This is the same flawed logic that was used to justify the Cross-City tunnel, which lost $2 for every $3 spent in building it.

The New M5 will be a worse disaster than the Cross-City Tunnel. It will cost more to build, but will generate less revenue. The shortfall in revenue will cost the State billions of dollars that will have to be diverted from other projects, or raised in tax. The tolls will cost Western Sydney families thousands of dollars a year that they cannot afford.

The New M5 EIS says that, because of the tolls, fewer people will use the M4 and M5 once this project is complete than use them now. This is project with many losers and few winners.

Sydney needs value for money infrastructure and real solutions. It needs jobs where people live. It does not need to privatise the M4 and M5 and it does not need WestConnex.

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