Transurban wins bid for Sydney WestConnex
Australian toll road giant Transurban has won the bid to operate Sydney's mammoth WestConnex motorway, a day after getting the green light from the competition watchdog.
Sydney Transport Partners, a consortium led by Transurban, will pay $9.26 billion for a 51 per cent controlling stake in the project, the NSW government announced on Friday.
The money will go towards funding the M4-M5 link, the final stage of WestConnex.
The road extends 33 kilometres from Parramatta to the South Western Motorway mostly via tunnels under the inner suburbs.
"It will be the Sydney Harbour Bridge of western Sydney," Treasurer Dominic Perrottet told reporters.
"We need to make better use of what we have."
Mr Perrottet said 49 per cent share of the motorway corporation would remain with the government and any dividends received over the course of the deal (42 years) would be invested into the NSW Generations Fund.
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission was initially concerned about Transurban's bid and its impact on competition but gave it the tick of approval on Thursday.
The company already controls seven of Sydney's nine toll roads but has agreed to publish traffic data that could help rivals bid for future road projects and potentially give taxpayers and motorists a better deal.
The deal is expected to close in late September, subject to approval by the Foreign Investment Review Board.
"WestConnex is a critical component of the NSW government's long-term, transport and planning solution and is strategically significant for Sydney Transport Partners," Transurban chief executive Scott Charlton said in a statement.
Labor leader Luke Foley criticised the sale, saying western Sydney motorists would be paying for the project for generations.
"This is not a happy day for Sydney's motorists, it's not just that you'll be paying these tolls, and your children's children will be paying the Liberals unfair tolls," Mr Foley told reporters.
"The M4 toll is an unfair toll because it's being used, by the government's own admission, to finance project well away from western Sydney."
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