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Fears are growing another toll could be imposed on Sydney motorists, as reports circulate a major construction company has bid to build a toll road that would not be covered by the WestConnex toll cap.
The NSW Opposition has called on the State Government to clarify if another toll will be imposed on motorists travelling from the WestConnex St Peters Interchange in Sydney's inner-west to get to Sydney Airport or Port Botany on the planned Sydney Gateway.
There are reports construction giant Lendlease has put in an unsolicited proposal to build Sydney Gateway.
The Opposition's Roads spokeswoman Jodi McKay said the Government needs to reveal if the planned Sydney Gateway at St Peters will now have a separate toll, on top of the capped $8.60 for one journey under WestConnex.
"[The Government] needs to be honest about the discussions that are occurring in regards to the real possibility of another toll," she said.
Ms McKay said the airport link from St Peters was always meant to be part of WestConnex.
"The Gateway part of the project was always part of WestConnex, the Government now said it is not," she said.
A spokesman for NSW Roads Minister Melinda Pavey said in line with the Unsolicited Proposals Guide, the NSW Government does not comment on whether or not a proposal has been received.
Ms Pavey's spokesman said the NSW Government continued to work with key stakeholders to develop the concept design for Sydney Gateway.
"Sydney Gateway will provide multi-modal high capacity road and rail connections to support the Sydney Airport and Port Botany precincts," the spokesperson said.
"Sydney Gateway is a separate project that does not come under the WestConnex program and is not included in the WestConnex tolling regime."
Community angry over toll hike possibilityStephen Bali, the president of the Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) said another toll was ridiculous for commuters, especially from Sydney's west.
"If a toll goes ahead for Sydney Gateway, it could cost commuters around $30 to $40 daily," he said.
"The State Government needs to be transparent to the people of Western Sydney. All of these tolls are adding up and people simply cannot afford them."
Rhea Liebmann from the WestConnex Action Group said having a private company build and run Sydney Gateway would lead to another toll on top of WestConnex.
"It certainly means a separate toll road. This is another way to charge more," she said.
The original justification for WestConnex was to build quick access to Sydney Airport and Port Botany. The whole project has been shrouded in secrecy, with residents not knowing what is coming next," Ms Liebmann said.
NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said she was not aware of the Lendlease proposal.
She said she was aware, however, of the cost of living pressures.
"I am always uncomfortable with anything which does not address cost of living pressures. Any proposal would need to be considerate of that," the Premier said.
"I do not think anyone likes tolls, none of us likes tolls and we would try and avoid them anytime we can."
The ABC has contacted WestConnex Minister Stuart Ayres and Lendlease for comment.
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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