M4 travel is about to take its toll

Prue Car and Jodi McKay
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The free ride on the M4 Motorway is coming to an end.

The $2.75 toll was removed back in 2010 but tens of thousands of drivers who use the M4 to get to the city for work every day are about to be slugged up to $42 a week for the privilege of using the road.

As part of the WestConnex upgrade, the State Government plans to charge $0.42 per kilometre to drivers travelling between Parramatta and Haberfield, however there is no indication of exactly when this will happen.

Shadow Minister for Roads, Jodi McKay said the tolls will cost western Sydney commuters up to $2000 a year for a road that is currently free.

“From some time between late this year and June next year there will be a toll, but the Government will not tell us when,” she said during a visit to the local area with State Londonderry MP Prue Car.

The WestConnex project includes two upgrades to the M4, including the widening between Parramatta and Homebush to be completed by 2017, then a tunnel between Homebush and Haberfield known as the M4 East.

“Labor took the tolls off the M4 in 2010, and now the Government are going to put the toll back on the M4 and also on the M4 East – there will be two tolls you will pay,” she said.

“Effectively you will pay $4.21 to get to Homebush, then another $3.65 to get from there through to Haberfield.”

A Sydney Motorway Corporation spokesperson confirmed the toll will be introduced on the M4 upon completion in 2017, with a concession period until 2060.

“It will be introduced on the M4 East when it is completed and opened to traffic in 2019,” the spokesperson said.

“This equates to a concession period of between 44 and 37 years which is broadly in line with other toll road concession periods… A shorter concession period would mean a higher toll price.”

The State Government’s WestConnex Strategic Business Case outlined the tolls will rise at the cost of inflation or at four per cent a year, whichever is greater, for the first 20 years of the toll.

After that, tolls will rise at the same rate of inflation until 2060.

“Why is it that the Government thinks it’s OK for us to have to pay that sort of money to get to work every day?” Ms Car asked.

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