Why gridlocked Sydney is being shortchanged

admin | 成都桑拿
14 Sep 2019

Sydney has been denied its fair share of transport infrastructure funding over the past decade despite the growing economic and social cost of congestion.

The city has received only 17 per cent of all new state and federal investment in road and rail over the past 12 years even though it generated about 24 per cent of ‘s gross domestic product last financial year, analysis by the Grattan Institute think tank shows.

Sydney’s share of Commonwealth support has been especially stingy – the city received only 5 per cent of Commonwealth funding for road and rail in the decade to 2015. The rest of NSW, which is about 8 per cent of the national economy, received 27 per cent of Commonwealth road and rail funding in that period.

Marion Terrill, the Grattan Institute’s transport program director, said Sydneysiders were “within their rights” to think a history of government underinvestment has led to worsening congestion.

“It is very striking that the Commonwealth has preferred NSW country over the city,” she said.

Congestion is forecast to cost the NSW economy $9 billion a year by 2020, the vast majority in Sydney.

The National Party in NSW has portrayed the large share of infrastructure spending going to regional areas as a political achievement. Duncan Gay, the former NSW roads minister and a National Party MP, said in a statement in January that “I have spent $38 billion on road, freight and waterway infrastructure since 2011 – the likes of which have never been seen in the history of this state – more than 65 per cent of this total investment has been delivered for projects in the bush”.

But the Roads to Riches report, released by the Grattan Institute last year, found n governments have recently spent far too much money on country highways “not especially important to the national economy.”

Regions outside of Sydney account for 35 per cent of the NSW population and about 25 per cent of the state’s economy.

Despite receiving a disproportionately low share of infrastructure spending Sydney’s economy grew by 4.5 per cent in 2015-16 and contributed almost 40 per cent of the increase in ‘s GDP. The remainder of NSW grew at just 0.4 per cent last financial year.

‘s four biggest cities – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth – account for 60 per cent of economic activity, nearly 60 per cent of the population, and 64 per cent of population growth and yet those cities received only 43 per cent of new investment in road and rail infrastructure in the decade to 2015.

“All other things being equal, one would expect new infrastructure to reflect areas of rapid population growth,” the Roads to Riches report said. “But neither bigger capitals nor faster growing cities appear to have been the impetus for choices about where to locate new infrastructure. Instead of concentrating new investment in large and fast growing Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and Perth, both Commonwealth and state governments spent disproportionately in country NSW and Queensland.”

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