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AFTERNOON peak-hour travel on Sydney's major roads is getting even slower, according to the latest snapshot of the state's transport system.
But there has been a mild improvement in travel times in the city's notorious morning peak hour, says the report, which highlights a host of long-standing problems in the management and performance of the system.
The Auditor-General's performance report into transport and ports, released on Wednesday, reveals that almost half the major transport projects in the state are over-budget or delayed.
And it shows NSW continues to suffer from Sydney's first ill-fated T-Card ticketing project.
After borrowing more than $100 million for the project, eventually cancelled by the previous government in 2008, the state pays more than $300,000 a month in interest on the debt. A new public transport ticketing contract, to deliver what will be known as the Opal card, was signed in 2010.
The report from the Auditor-General, Peter Achterstraat, nevertheless reveals behind-the-scenes improvements.
Mr Achterstraat said transport departments had reduced their reliance on contractors, and had cut the amount of overtime paid.
He also praised RailCorp for reducing the amount it spent on the removal of graffiti, down from $55 million two years ago to $26 million, though it is unclear if trains have been made to look any better in that time.
But for the main, the report pinpoints the causes of daily frustration for Sydney residents trying to move around.
In the past five years, the average afternoon speed on seven major roads in Sydney dropped from 43km/h to 40km/h.
The average morning speed increased from 29km/h to 30km/h in the past year, but had been around that mark for the past five years.
Victoria Road, where the crawl for motorists is about 23km/h in the morning peak, is the city's slowest major corridor.
The other roads measured are the F3, M2, M4, M5, Pittwater and Military roads and the Princes Highway.
On the train system, CityRail continues to struggle to meet benchmarks for running on time.
CityRail achieved 93.4 per cent peak hour on-time running in 2011-12 year, but that was its worst result for five years.
And there were more than 40 occasions last year when fewer than 80 per cent of peak-hour trains ran on time.
Mr Achterstraat's report also shows that among 10 major projects under management by RailCorp and Transport for NSW, not including the north-west rail link, estimated costs have increased from about $6.1 billion to $8.4 billion.
But the report does not detail which projects these are, claiming some details are commercial in confidence.
This article first appeared on www.smh.com.au
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