The signs of infrastructure collapse in Sydney keep coming yet nobody in government seems willing to connect the dots.

Two more dots this morning are this call by Virgin Blue chief executive Brett Godfrey for a second airport in Sydney and warnings that the Hungry Mile development could clog Wynyard station.

But if the bigger picture is looked at, nothing happening to rail users or air travellers compares to the consequences of banishing working ships from a harbour that former Premier Bob Carr was determined to make safe for the café latteratti through waterfront retail and residential developments.

The inadequacy of the Port Botany solution has forced container truck hell onto suburbs that either have to be gashed open with future motorways or avoided with much more costly tunnel projects like the stillborn M4 East plans which are on a scale not yet seen in Australia.

Efforts to divert some shipping to Port Kembla or Newcastle are dragging the woeful rail and highway links to both into chronic failure mode.

The lunacy is most obvious in the State Government, where the Premier Morris Iemma clings to an insupportable set of convictions:

  1. A Federal Government will spend mega billions overcoming a massive tangle of gorges between Sydney and Williamtown (past Newcastle) to provide 300 kilometre an hour rail trips to an airport nobody will use and Infrastucture Minister Anthony Albanese says he can’t have anyhow;
  2. An airport several hours from anywhere in Sydney with no infrastructure links will somehow cost less financially and politically than Badgery’s Creek, which is close to a motorway that has already been built and on land the Commonwealth bought for that purpose, and
  3. Melbourne and Brisbane will not overlook the gold plated invitations to take all the jobs and growth opportunities that the quadruple crisis in air, rail, road and maritime links to Sydney is handing them.

If he lasts long enough in the job the only transport infrastructure that Iemma will open this year will be a botched three station underground railway between Chatswood and Epping which has tunnels too steep for most trains to use anyhow, and may yet prove a health hazard to any passengers until fully sealed carriages with adequate air circulation become available.

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
Editor-in-chief of Crikey
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