It's not much use having good schools in Sydney if you can't get to them on buses and trains.
That's partly how NSW Premier Barry O'Farrell has explained the government's decision to cut $1.7 billion from the Education Department's budget.
An analysis by the Sydney Morning Herald's State Political Editor Sean Nicholls today pointed to comments by Pittwater MP Rob Stokes questioning why the north-west rail line and keeping the electricity poles and wires were more important than education.
In the last budget, the government allocated $3.3 billion to the rail link over the next four years in a bid to meet its target of having tunnelling machines in the ground by the middle of 2014.
By some estimates, the electricity poles and wires could fetch about $30 billion. Despite the urgings of the chairman of Infrastructure NSW, Nick Greiner, and others, Mr O'Farrell has refused to dispose of them without taking it to an election.
There are several more examples. Registered clubs enjoy tax concessions on the revenue from poker machines worth $663 million a year, according to the financial audit conducted for the government.
In an interview with 702 ABC Sydney this morning Mr O'Farrell said it was important to free up capital to invest in infrastructure.
"Not much point in having a school system across the Sydney network that people can't get to either on roads [or trains]," Mr O'Farrell said.
"There are day-to-day running costs but there's also capital needs.
"So we're trying to do that, but we're also trying to ensure our recurrent costs, the cost of operating our schools, our hospitals, our police stations and the like, is also protected.
"The fact is my frustration, and I think what people are concerned about, is all they're hearing is these are cuts in education.
"These are cuts that we announced in the June budget that are falling across the whole of government because at that stage we'd been told we were going to lose $5 billion from the federal government from GST."
Mr O'Farrell said the cuts would "stop at school gates" and would not impact on teachers; rather 1800 jobs would be axed from other areas in the department.
He also continued to cite a reduction in state revenues and $5 billion less from GST revenues.
"We're living within our means and we have to live within our means because whether ... you're a family, whether you're a business, if you spend more than you're getting, you create even bigger problems in the future."