In case you forgot, western Sydney has entered its last toll-free week for decades.
The controversial M4 toll returns to the motorway on Tuesday, August 15, where it will remain until at least 2060.
It was the last motorway in the city’s west not to be tolled, but from next week a one-way trip from Parramatta to Homebush will set motorists back $4.56.
Blacktown mayor Stephen Bali said residents were already too familiar with the sound their e-tag makes when passing a toll gate.
“Essentially two generations of workers will be paying for this toll that will increase faster than inflation,” Cr Bali said.
“If this is the best the state government can do with recycling assets, with a $4 billion surplus, is give the west tollways, it’s absolutely ridiculous.
“We’ve already got the M7, the M5, the M2. We’re all tolled out.”
Cr Bali took aim at a state government “in chaos”, saying the west was behind in terms of jobs and infrastructure.
“Half the city are ‘haves’ and the other are ‘have nots’,” he said. “Why is it we are losing on every front?”
WestConnex Minister Stuart Ayres said the widened M4 had already proved “a game changer”, with time savings of 17 minutes for westbound traffic.
The Penrith MP said Labor were “deceitful” about their own plans for toll roads in Sydney.
“So not only do we have more cars travelling on the road – every car, truck, cab, is travelling faster,” Mr Ayres said.
“This is in stark contrast to Labor, who ignored the M4 for an entire generation, leaving it unfinished.”
Londonderry MP Prue car said the government’s suggestion of using Parramatta Road as a free alternative was “offensive”.
“This will be a disaster for family budgets in western Sydney,” she said. “People are telling me they don’t know how they’re going to afford this. They say they might have to move.
“Everything is rising except wage growth. It’s an unbelievably regressive, excessive toll.”