Toll flak as Sydney road link opens early

The NSW government has defended a $5-plus toll to travel an 8km section of Sydney's massive WestConnex motorway network.

Asked if that was too much for cash-strapped families to pay, Premier Dominic Perrottet said drivers did not have to use the road.

"I back in motorways 100 per cent. Our government builds motorways," he said on Thursday during a visit to the WestConnex Motorway Control Centre in Sydney's west.

"This is transforming our city for our people ... Western Sydney are the big winners out of this project.

"But ultimately, as well, you don't have to use the road - everyone is a winner - if you don't want to use the motorway you don't have to."

Passenger vehicles will pay $5.65 to use the new section of the tunnel, which is a distance-based calculation, capped at $10.47 across the entire tolled 22km network.

Heavy vehicles including trucks will initially pay $16.95 to use the new section.

Despite the cost, trucks were still likely to choose the new WestConnex tunnel over Parramatta Road when travelling from Western Sydney to the city, Mr Perrottet said.

"You will get many trucks using these tunnels," the premier said.

The Labor opposition has been pursuing Sydney's road tolls as an election issue in the lead-up to the state poll in March.

"Sydney now has more toll roads than any other city in the world," David Hensher from the University of Sydney's Institute of Transport and Logistics said in 2019.

At the time, Prof Hensher suggested overhauling the system for a user-pays per kilometre during peak hour system, with driving free in off-peak times.

In 2021, the government announced a review of Sydney's tolling system, which was due for completion in September last year.

But the premier on Thursday said that wasn't likely to be finalised until after the election.

The new extension to the WestConnex motorway will open on Friday, two months ahead of schedule.

The 8km underground tunnel links the M4 motorway at Haberfield and the M8 at St Peters in Sydney's inner west.

The tunnel will save motorists travelling from Western Sydney to the domestic and international airport at Mascot up to 40 minutes and bypass 52 traffic lights.

"We are completely transforming the way Sydneysiders live, work and commute across their city, with over a quarter of a million motorists already using WestConnex every day," Mr Perrottet said.

Sydney had become the most tolled city in the world under the NSW coalition, Labor's roads spokesman John Graham said on Thursday.

"After 12 years of slamming Western Sydney with tolls, no one believes Dominic Perrottet will deliver fair and real toll reform,'' he said.

"Dominic Perrottet's tolls are a secret tax on the motorists of Western Sydney."