GOVERNMENTS can change their minds and it's okay to do so, according to a Bathurst man who has created a website advocating for an investment in rail, not road, in the Blue Mountains.
Chris O'Rourke, who says he has been interested in land transport since experiencing the rail systems in Europe in the 1970s and 1980s, wants the NSW Government to reconsider its decision to duplicate the Great Western Highway from Lithgow to Katoomba.
The project, announced in Bathurst in the lead-up to the 2019 state election, and which is set to be delivered in stages, has $2.5 billion committed to it so far by the NSW Government.
"People need to hear both sides of the story," Mr O'Rourke said of his decision to create his website.
"Taxpayers, that's everyone who buys anything, need to know that our money is being well spent.
"I'm worried that we are not getting the full story."
He said he wants to see the best outcome for "Blue Mountains locals, taxpayers, businesses, freight forwarders and the travelling public".
"I am very, very concerned that the proposal [the duplication of the highway] will not achieve its objectives in the long term," he said.
"I would also like to see the government do a full scope of upgrading the rail system before they start construction."
Mr O'Rourke said he does not have a professional background in transport, but has been collating and presenting the work of professionals to government for a long time.
A quick example, he said, was a trip equivalent to that of Dubbo to Sydney on the rail system in Finland.
"You would have a choice of about eight daily return journeys, on trains whose average speed is over 100 kilometres per hour.
"Here it is one train a day which averages about 65 kilometres per hour on a track built 150 years ago."
Mr O'Rourke said the recent reversal of the decision to move the Powerhouse Museum from the Sydney CBD showed governments were capable of changing decisions.
"Being open with others and agreeing to reconsider is a strength of character, not a weakness," he said.
And he said local people, when he explains the other side of the story about the highway duplication, have been amazed about the real cost.
"When you explain that 80 to 100 families in Blackheath might be forced out of their homes, or that a short tunnel might cost $3 billion, they are even more amazed, and not in a good way," he said.