Rail, not road pricing, is the missing link says Mayor


Thursday, 17 March 2016

Cr McKeown says the proposed user-pay model for road use is short-sighted and will impact unfairly on Western Sydney residents.

"A national system of road pricing is not the answer to Sydney's escalating traffic," said Penrith Mayor Councillor Karen McKeown.

The Federal Government is considering commissioning a study which explores ways of charging motorists based on how far they travel and when.

The national road pricing scheme was a recommendation put forward in the Australian Infrastructure Plan released by Infrastructure Australia last month.

"Nearly 80% of Penrith residents drive to work (not by choice but by necessity) because the only other option is an ineffective and unreliable public transport system," Cr McKeown said.

"Our system of placing housing and jobs in distant locations is clearly broken. Federal and State Governments need to invest significantly to increase the local jobs density in Western Sydney's regional city centres.

"Yes, there needs to be less cars on the road but to achieve this we need a high-frequency, interconnected public transport system which services the areas where there is greatest growth and potential," she said.

"Under the government's current plan, the Western Sydney Employment Area, will be substantially accessed by road. If the government adopts this user-pay model, our residents will not only be forced to drive to work there but they'll have to pay-more for this privilege.

"Charging motorists is not a viable solution to reducing the significant and escalating traffic problems in Sydney," Cr McKeown said. "The solution is better connected rail links between Western Sydney's city centres, including a rail line from the new airport to the Western line and the North and South West Growth Centres."

Information contained within this news release was correct as at Thursday, 17 March 2016.