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Phoebe Loomes

Sydney drivers pay record $835m in tolls in six months

Sydney drivers have paid hundreds of millions in road tolls in the space of a few months. (Mick Tsikas/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Sydney drivers have paid a staggering $835 million in tolls in the past six months, with tolling company Transurban telling investors it has benefited from record traffic on the roads.

The company released record earnings of $1.66 billion for the six months ending December 31 on Tuesday, saying it was in a good position to reap the rewards of inflation, with tolls set to rise in coming years.

Tolls had already crept up by six per cent across Sydney, the market update noted in its highlights section, released to investors on Tuesday.

The company is "well positioned for rising inflation and interest rates" and can expect tolls to rise by 20 per cent over the next four years.

"$1 of toll revenue in September 2021 would illustratively grow to approximately $1.20 in June 2025 and continue compounding thereafter," the report says.

It comes after the government opened new sections of Westconnex in January, including the M4-M8 tunnels from Haberfield to St Peters in Sydney's inner west, which were acquired by Transurban.

The document says further widening of the M7-M12 will be approved imminently.

Transurban also told investors it sees future monetisation opportunities in a series of yet-to-be-completed roads, including the M6, Western Harbour Tunnel and Beaches Link.

CEO Scott Charlton said the company's urban road placement meant they were able to capture a diversity of leisure, travel and commuting trips.

"It is pleasing to see traffic for the half setting a new record for the business," Mr Charlton said.

"In Sydney, the M4-M8 link was opened in January ahead of schedule and on budget."

"This milestone represents the final element of the city shaping Westconnex project to be delivered by the Sydney Transport Partners consortium.

"The consolidated Westconnex asset is expected to continue to grow over the near term and play a critical role in connecting more than $10 billion of government road projects over the next six years."

The increase in traffic was proof NSW was bouncing back after the COVID-19 pandemic, Metropolitan Roads Minister Natalie Ward said on Tuesday.

"It also demonstrates drivers are choosing to use these major infrastructure projects because it gives them more time to spend with those they love," Ms Ward said.

Labor roads spokesman John Graham said Sydney was the most tolled city in the world.

"This is a problem of the government's own making. They have signed secret contracts and privatised toll roads," he said.

"Those deals are driving these record tolls."

The opposition have not announced their own policy to provide toll relief to Sydney drivers.

The comments were dismissed by Ms Ward, who said the government's infrastructure projects had been transformational, and were opposed by Labor "every step of the way".

"Labor's only policy on toll relief so far, has been to adopt our toll rebate scheme which is putting up to $750 back in the pockets of Sydney drivers," Ms Ward added.

"After 1315 days of (Mr Graham) being in the shadow portfolio, the real question is what is Labor's toll relief policy?"

The government has conducted a review of Sydney's tolling system, which was due for completion last September.

Its release has been delayed until after the election next month.

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