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Sydney Airport getting $170m in taxpayer-funded compensation for motorway build

ABC Business logoABC Business 12/09/2018

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The NSW Government will give Sydney Airport $170 million in compensation to acquire land it needs to build a major motorway link between the terminals and WestConnex.

The road component of the project — dubbed Sydney Gateway — will cost up to $2.6 billion and connect Sydney Airport's domestic and international terminals to the M5, via the giant interchange at St Peters.

Sydney Gateway will pass through land owned by Sydney Airport, and will not be tolled.

Earlier this year, "cabinet in confidence" documents seen by the ABC revealed the State Government estimated $300 million would be needed to acquire the land, which the airport used for freight, logistics and general aviation.

a close up of a device © Provided by ABC Business However, because Sydney Airport was the "largest single beneficiary" of the project, the documents argued they should be convinced to make a fair contribution.

NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian said the new link would slash travel times from Parramatta to the airport by 40 minutes.

"With Sydney Gateway completed, drivers will be able to travel between Penrith or Parramatta and the Domestic Airport terminal without stopping at a single traffic light," she said.

"This connection will also help to fix notorious bottlenecks and congestion on roads around the airport, which often create headaches for travellers."

Sydney Airport said the $170 million would be used to "explore" other transport solutions for the airport, including metro, rail and bus services.

According to an Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) report, Sydney Airport made almost $100 million in parking in the 2016 financial year.

The airport's CEO Geoff Culbert said the project would take cars and trucks of the arteries that currently service the terminals including Airport Drive and Qantas Drive.

"It will give local roads back to the local community, ease congestion and make journeys to and from Sydney Airport easier, faster and safer," he said.

The confidential papers revealed the airport land was protected from compulsory acquisition.

While the Cabinet documents modelled several routes around the airport, they found that a final route through the airport's northern lands was the only viable option.

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