Infrastructure NSW Identifies 70 Projects Crucial to State Growth

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By Vittorio Hernandez | October 4, 2012 10:46 AM EST

Infrastructure New South Wales (INSW) named on Wednesday 70 projects and reforms that the agency will pursue considered crucial to the state's growth and development.

The projects include a $10-billion venture that would link two of the largest motorways in Sydney, the M4 and M5 East.

To initially fund the 33-kilometre proposed WestConnex motorway, NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell announced the release of $1.8 billion.

Businesses in the state hailed the construction of the new motorway because it would ease gridlock on Sydney roads. Patricia Forsythe, the director of the Sydney Business Chamber, pointed out that road and rail congestion in Sydney is the single biggest challenge to the city's economic prosperity and livability.

Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Chief Executive Brendan Lyon said the Westconnex is critical to solve the traffic problem in Sydney which he said is drowning in freight and passenger congestion.

Besides the motorway, the state government would also construct over 15 major crossings across NSW that would allow B-doubles to travel to regional areas and interstate. The five key roads around the Sydney Airport would also be upgraded.

The projects would cost $20 billion spread over 20 years. About $10 billion is expected to come from road toll fees.

INSW Chairman Nick Greiner is also expected to push for the construction of a second airport at Badgerys Creek, but the premier would likely reiterate his objection to the building of a new gateway in the Sydney basin.

"I'm preoccupied with state infrastructure. If the federal government wants to stump up the $5-9 billion for a federal airport, good luck to them. But I noticed (federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony) Albanese never commits such funds to the projects," The Australian quoted Mr O'Farrell.

Mr Albanese, however, agrees that the current Sydney Airport is near its peak capacity and unless a solution is immediately agreed upon, the city would miss out on major events as well as boosts to economic activities and job creation opportunities which would instead benefit Melbourne and Brisbane.

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