The West

Transport Minister Troy Buswell's brainchild of an expressway to the airport should also be Perth's first toll road, according to WA's foremost infrastructure and transport expert.

Curtin University's Professor Peter Newman said toll roads and involving the private sector were ways of ensuring many of WA's critical transport projects would be built.

The cost of the expressway - which under Mr Buswell's plan would take motorists from the city to the airport without traffic lights or intersections - has been estimated at more than $1 billion.

But under Professor Newman's plan, the construction cost and the toll revenue would be shared with the private sector.

If motorists did not want to pay the toll, other "free" routes to the airport would still be available.

An investigation by The West Australian this month found the Barnett Government had announced or was considering major transport projects worth more than $8 billion.

They ranged from a $1.5 billion Fremantle outer harbour to the $50 million shift of the Midland train station.

Professor Newman said most of these projects would not happen without the involving the private sector, including toll roads.

Last week, the South Australian Freight Council identified $5.5 billion worth of transport infrastructure projects that were critical to the State's economic viability and also called on the SA Government to introduce toll roads to help pay for them.

In WA in August, shadow Federal treasurer Joe Hockey said Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne used tolls to deal with congestion.

"If you want extensive, expensive infrastructure, then some form of co-investment may well be necessary," he said.

But Mr Buswell said the Barnett Government was not considering toll roads.

Shadow transport minister Ken Travers said Labor would fund projects by "getting priorities right" and not by introducing tolls.

Professor Newman said tolls could also be introduced on the Kwinana and Mitchell freeways to ease congestion and extend public transport.

The West Australian

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