MEMBER for Blacktown, John Robertson says western Sydney commuters could be slogged an extra $45 a week when the tolls on the M4 and WestConnex are switched on early next year.
“Families travelling from Blacktown can’t afford an extra $45 a week in tolls,” Mr Robertson said.
“The people of Blacktown shouldn’t be forced to pay to drive on roads that have already been paid for over a decade ago,” the former Opposition Leader said.
A toll at $45 a week could cost a household an extra $2340 a year which would add more pressure to already struggling families.
Motorists could be tolled up to $4.21 each way when travelling on the upgraded stretch of the M4 from Church street, Parramatta, to Homebush Bay drive with shorter trips on the widened road costing $1.75 each way, according to WestConnex.
Mr Robertson says the Premier is turning Blacktown into a costly place to live.
“Why is Mike Baird making it so expensive for the people from Blacktown to live here and work in the city?” Mr Robertson said.
All up the project will cost $5.3 billion with the first part of the road opening near Church street early 2017, but toll testing, without charges applied, has begun on the new toll way.
The Western News facebook was abuzz with reactions to the news of the cost of the toll.
Thomas Jam questioned the ‘double dipping’ nature of the toll, “The money used to build the infrastructure - was that from me and my taxes? Yes. Ok, so if I have already paid for the construction and the government sells or leases the asset do I get a dividend or refund? No.” He said. “Can someone please tell me how this is not double dipping?”
WestConnex says the tolling is vital to the project’s future with the benefits outweighing the costs to drivers.
According to their website “tolling is necessary to fund WestConnex, which will deliver significant travel time savings across Sydney” with motorists saving up to “40 minutes between Parramatta and Sydney Airport” skipping around 52 sets of traffic lights.