March 10, 2008

Horse 865 - The Gall!.. Hill "Free"way

Although I could point the finger at Mr Iemma's Government and their total lack of leadership, their spineless policies on electricity and the paucity at which they treat the voter, this piece of invective is best directed at his predecessor Mr Carr. I refer now to the M2 Gore Hill Expressway and the Lane Cove Tunnel.

Epping Road which should be a main thoroughfare used to be two lanes in each direction. Then because extra traffic passed through the area, it was widened to three lanes back in 1986. Now apart from the obvious that this was part of the F2 Lane Cove Expressway plans back in 1963 of which Gladesville Bridge was really the only section built, the need for capacity was still obvious and so plans to continue the F1 Warringah Freeway were completed. This created a traffic blockage node at Epping Rd and the Pacific Highway, so further plans were made to divert traffic under Lane Cove by means of the Lane Cove Tunnel.

The Government in all their short-sighted and greedy wisdom decided that instead of building public infrastructure, they'd build the road and then pass ownership on to a private company. I object to toll-roads at the best of times, but when politicians are lining their coffers at the expense of the people who elected them something is very wrong.

But Lo, the private company comlplained that the traffic flows passing through the tunnel weren't collecting enough revenue. The solution as of today is to cut more lanes out of Epping Rd to not before 1986 levels but half that again. The practicle outcome of this is that what used to take me 62 minutes to get to work, on Day One of the new traffic measures took 114 minutes. So much for the "good and fair people of NSW".

But my complaint isn't necessarily directed at Mr Iemma who was lumbered with this. No the credit for this needs to go the the slimy scumbucket who mysteriously squirrled his way out of parliament just before the manure struck the fanblades - the "Right Honerable" bespectacled rapscallion Robert Carr.

Oh, by the way, just where is Mr Carr now? Well he happens to be a consultant for Macquarie Bank, who just happen to be the main shareholders of the Connector Motorway Group who own the Lane Cove Tunnel.
Why blame Mr Carr? Well, apparantly were we told of these changes when they were considered in the 2001 Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) and became part of the Planning Minister’s 2003 approval. They have been supported by a more recent Parliamentary Inquiry.$FILE/LCT%20Final%20compiled%20report%2017%20August.pdf

On Dec 8, 2006 we were told:
THE State Government will pay $25 million to the Lane Cove Tunnel company to ensure controversial road changes do not cause a voter backlash at the March 24 election. The deal - branded an outrageous misuse of taxpayers' money by the Opposition - comes as the Government faces a lawsuit worth hundreds of millions for scrapping Cross City Tunnel road changes. The $25 million compensates Connector Motorways for delaying the narrowing of Epping Road, which would have driven motorists to use the tunnel by creating congestion on the surface.

"We have learnt the lessons of the Cross City Tunnel. It makes sense to let motorists get used to the 48 traffic changes that come into place by the time the Lane Cove Tunnel project opens." Eric Roozendaal.

Yes indeed you have learnt the lessons.
1. Sign over ownership of something to a private company so you can then get a backhander when you leave parliament.
2. Pay the private company to keep quiet when they are going to squeal before an election.

ICAC isn't much better in this. When the Independent Commission Against Corruption was asked to look into this, it declined to investigate, saying while the public policy reasons for making the decision might coincide with political advantage, it did not make the Government's actions corrupt. Because paying $25m to shut up isn't corrupt is it?

And now:

One Word Weather With Nelson Mandela


I need 300g of dyxiedrumstyk stat!

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