TESLA founder Elon Musk’s idea for building a high-tech tunnel through the Blue Mountains has generated plenty of headlines but an equal amount of scepticism about whether the tech-entrepreneur could deliver the project for $1 billion.
Western NSW Business Chamber regional manager Vicki Seccombe said the chamber has been pushing hard for better transport links for the Central West and any plan that promises greater connectivity deserves a good look.
“We need it,” Ms Seccombe said.
“But whether this specific proposal passes muster or not remains to be seen.
“Transport NSW seems to think it would cost a fair bit more than $1 billion – but look, if Mr Musk reckons he could build it for less, then great. Let’s see the plans and get the conversation going.”
Ms Seccombe said a shorter journey through the Blue Mountains will open up the region to more tourists and encourage more Sydneysiders to consider relocating.
“It will facilitate the establishment of the food economy, allowing producers to get their produce to the Asia-Pacific quickly via the new Western Sydney Airport.”
“If a tunnel is made, it will cut time between Sydney and Lithgow,” Mr Stevenson said.
“The biggest challenge is the horrendous cost of tunnelling.
“This bloke reckons he could do it for $50 million a kilometre. It is extremely low and unbelievable.”
Mr Stevenson said though he can’t comment if the tunnel could be built within the proposed amount, Mr Musk’s record speaks for itself.
“He has built a 100-megawatt battery in South Australia in no time. At that time, everybody said he could not do it. Now it has turned out to be very profitable.”
“What I have read is that his project is not for transporting agricultural products,” Mr Reynolds said.
“It is for high-speed cars.”
Mr Reynolds said farmers want a quicker road option for agricultural products across the state.
“We want a three-hour road journey from Orange to port or to an airport.
“An expressway with 100km/h to 110km/h and bypassing the traffic lights, school zones, Katoomba and other mountains will be ideal,” he said.