PRIME Minister Julia Gillard’s promises of federal government support for WestConnex motorway that would see ‘‘billions of dollars’’ invested to the project should be removed for fear it will increase costs and reduce its feasibility, a local council-body representative said.
Ms Gillard announced the government would help fund the WestConnex motorway, which will link the west with the airport and Port Botany precinct, on the condition the project was extended to take commuters into the city, freight to Port Botany and no tolls to be introduced on current no-toll roads.
Transport critics have doubted the merits of the federal government plan with Premier Barry O’Farrell saying the criteria would increase the project’s cost by $5 billion to $8 billion.
Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Council’s president Tony Hadchiti said funding should be provided unconditionally.
‘‘Obviously, [WSROC] welcome the funds but we don’t want to see anything that will delay the project by adding excessive costs so that it ends up not being feasible and then just doesn’t happen,’’ Mr Hadchiti said.
‘‘If the [federal] government is genuine in its offer they have to trust the state government will deliver the best project for the state.’’
Mr Hadchiti disagreed with redirecting the funds into public transport saying investment into the road project was the best way to go.
‘‘The reality is people drive from western Sydney into the city . . . we need this project,’’ he said.
More than 200,000 vehicles use the M4 and M5 every day with one out of every three jobs created in Sydney in the next 20 years to be along those two routes.
Speaking from the M7’s Lighthorse Interchange, Ms Gillard said the government would make a funding offer the day it sees an appropriate plan.
‘‘It’s not good enough to invest billions of dollars and not ease people’s journeys all the way into the city,’’ she said.
Federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said extending the road and then stopping it again was just transferring the bottleneck.
Congestion costs will rise to $7.8 billion by 2020 if no action is taken, according to the federal government.