10/6/2005Australia: More Roads Closed to Prop Up Failing Toll Tunnel
Authorities in Sydney, Australian will close more roads to force motorists into an expensive toll road that has been failing to meet revenue targets.
Sydney, Australia's Cross City Tunnel has failed to meet revenue targets since it opened in August. Despite already closing several popular routes to force drivers into the tunnel, the pricey toll road is failing to meet its initial daily target of 25,000 paying customers. The Sydney Morning Herald recently counted just 20,073 drivers actually using the tunnel. The road's backers expect usage ultimately to grow to a daily traffic of 90,000, but the tunnel has seen no growth thus far.
As a result of these disappointing financial results, the New South Wales government will turn William Street from a six-lane road to a two-lane road to generate congestion and make the tunnel a more attractive option. "Anything is better than William Street in peak hour," reads a banner across the official toll road website.
The toll road has raised prices twice and will automatically increase the travel charge every three months.
NSW Roads Minister Joe Tripodi denied the changes were a ploy between the State Government and tunnel operators. "Changes to William Street have always been part of the published plan for the tunnel and associated traffic adjustments," a spokesman for Mr Tripodi said.Source: Lane closures help Sydney tunnel (The Australian, 10/5/2005)
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