Charlton said the CEO change is unlikely to result in a change in the company’s strategy on toll reform as it is an internal appointment.
“I don’t think there will be a big change,” he said. “The question of fairness and equality and how the city should develop … that’s really a political decision.”
Charlton said he does not expect high petrol prices and toll hikes to slow traffic growth on Sydney’s Transurban toll roads, which has been fueled by population growth.
He pointed to a survey commissioned by Transurban that shows the cost of petrol and tolls have come down, raising concern for households who are more concerned about food and electricity prices, as well as rents and mortgages.
The government expects an underground motorway junction to open at Rozelle in the inner west – the final stretch of WestConnex – by December. The $3.9 billion interchange will connect the recently opened M4-M8 link between St Peters and Haberfield, the City West Link, the Anzac Bridge, Iron Cove and finally the proposed Western Harbor Tunnel.
While Transurban had previously said the opening would be closer to early 2024, Charlton said he now expects the Rozelle interchange to open either late this year or “very early next year”. Transurban will take over the operation of the transport hub once it is completed.
“The Rozelle interchange will provide some ease of access to the city, but of course until the Western Harbor Tunnel is completed there will still be some congestion issues around the Anzac Bridge and Victoria Road until such traffic can use the Western Harbor Tunnel.” ” he said.
The 6.5 km long harbor tunnel between Rozelle and North Sydney is scheduled to open to motorists in 2028, later than the original completion date of 2025-26.
About $17 billion in Sydney state highway projects, including the Sydney Gateway near Kingsford-Smith Airport in Mascot, will open over the next five years, which Charlton said would result in a significant increase in traffic on WestConnex.
Transurban also announced on Wednesday that Charlton’s total pay package rose to $6.45 million this year, up from $4.34 million in 2022.
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