NSW Transport draft Master Plan draws mixed response

The recently unveiled 370-page draft Master Plan for Transport in NSW has received support and criticism from various sections of industry and the community.

Premier Barry O’Farrell was quick to defend the 20-year Draft Plan. “It’s what we promised to do: put in place plans for the future, plans that address public transport, the roads, the freight, the cycling, the walking of all citizens in this state,” he said.

Meanwhile, Opposition Leader John Robinson described it as “drawing lines on a map with no detail.”

The Draft Plan included several revenue raising options such as distance-based road tolls and that heavy vehicles will be required to pay a “fair share”. Many in the transport industry feel that they are already paying far more than a fair share.

The Draft Plan also included an extra harbour crossing on its wish list (though restricted to rail use) and a connection between the M4 and the M2. 

Of some concern to the road freight industry is the draft plan categorising the F3 to M2 connection as a “long term” concept. This is despite $150 million that the Gillard Federal Government committed to the link prior to the 2010 Federal election.

There has also been a proposal from the private sector in recent months to construct a tunnel link but that was not addressed in the draft Plan. For those truck operators who endure the grind of Pennant Hills Road and its multiple speed limits and numerous traffic light work on the link cannot begin quickly enough.

“The development of integrated strategies around ports and freight will help ensure we meet the growing freight task efficiently and effectively, and ensure NSW reaps the benefits of future economic opportunities,” Stephen Cartwright, CEO of the NSW Business Chamber, said.

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