A date has been set for the start of tolls on the M4.
Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced on Friday that the widened section of the M4 would finally be opened on Saturday, July 15.
That date will mark the start of a month-long toll-free period on the stretch between Parramatta and Homebush.
Tolls would take effect from about August 12 – pending a last-ditch attempt from Labor to block the move.
“In four weeks from now drivers will be able to experience the widened eight kilometre stretch of the M4 between Church Street Parramatta and Homebush Bay Drive at Homebush, toll free for a month,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“This is a government getting on with the job of delivering the major road infrastructure drivers so desperately need.”
WestConnex Minister Stuart Ayres also announced the state government had whittled down a shortlist of investors to build the M4-M5 link tunnel from Haberfield to St Peters.
“The M4-M5 Link is the most important stage of WestConnex as it will provide the vital connection between the new and upgraded M4 and M5 motorways for tens of thousands of vehicles a day and connect to Port Botany, the airport and future M6,” Mr Ayres said.
Privatisation of the WestConnex project remains on the table.
Western Sydney Regional Organisation of Councils (WSROC) president Stephen Bali said that with motorists in Sydney’s west likely to foot the bill of extending the M4, “it only makes sense that they should benefit from the proceeds if it is sold”.
“WSROC wants to see this money invested in a public transport network that will allow the soon-to-be three million western Sydney residents get around our city without needing to pay expensive road use charges,” Cr Bali said.
“The current public transport situation in western Sydney is dire. WestConnex is an opportunity to tackle some of the region’s key infrastructure gaps.”
Labor is still holding out hope of putting a stop to the M4 toll.
The state opposition has tabled a petition to parliament to force a debate over the reintroduction of the toll – which was abolished under the former Labor government in 2010.
More than 10,000 western Sydney and Blue Mountains signed the petition, with parliamentary debate scheduled for June 22.
“My message to Stuart Ayres today is…don’t forget where you came from because the people of western Sydney will come to get you if you do,” Londonderry MP Prue Car told a rally in Penrith this month.