State Budget: Government will introduce light rail

Funding to progress plans for light rail in Parramatta — via The Hills — has been labelled the ‘‘centrepiece’’ of the NSW Budget.

The NSW Government just announced it will set aside $400million from its major infrastructure fund, Restart NSW, to accelerate work on a Western Sydney light rail system.

‘‘This marks a new chapter in our congestion-busting agenda"

— Mike Baird

‘‘This marks a new chapter in our congestion-busting agenda,’’ Premier and Minister for Western Sydney Mike Baird said.

‘‘We’ve promised to transform this great state – and today’s major commitment for western Sydney could provide a key missing transport link and change the way people travel in and around Sydney’s west.’’

The state government has already committed funding to start work immediately on identifying the highest priority corridor for the introduction of light rail in Parramatta and carry out a detailed feasibility study.

The NSW Government will now investigate a number of potential light rail routes, including:

■ Parramatta to Macquarie Park via Carlingford;

■ Parramatta to Castle Hill via Old Northern Road;

■ Parramatta to Liverpool via the T-way;

■ Parramatta to Bankstown;

■ Parramatta to Sydney Olympic Park;

■ Parramatta to Rouse Hill;

■ Parramatta to Ryde via Victoria Road;

■ Parramatta to Sydney CBD via Parramatta Road;

■ Parramatta to Macquarie Park via Eastwood (proposed by Parramatta Council);

■ Parramatta to Castle Hill via Windsor Road (proposed by Parramatta Council).

‘‘This is a government committed to fast tracking key infrastructure projects and tackling congestion,” Mr Baird said.

‘‘With initial studies already underway to determine the future of light rail in western Sydney, today’s funding commitment means the Government can accelerate this exciting infrastructure project.’’

NSW Treasurer Andrew Constance said $400 million would be set aside from the government’s major infrastructure fund ‘Restart NSW’ to ensure the project is ready to go when feasibility work is completed.

‘‘A light rail network for Western Sydney has the potential to transform this vital economic hub, and this money means major construction can be ready to go, subject to feasibility"

— Andrew Constance

‘‘A light rail network for Western Sydney has the potential to transform this vital economic hub, and this money means major construction can be ready to go, subject to feasibility,’’ Mr Constance said.

‘‘This is a government that delivers and this commitment shows the money is there to get on with the job.’’

Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian said with the popular Inner West Light Rail Extension now open, the Government has the runs on the board to bring this popular mode of transport to Western Sydney.

“Building high capacity light rail is a priority for the NSW Liberals and Nationals Government, with major construction getting underway next year on a $1.6 billion light rail network for the Sydney CBD and South East, after planning approval was achieved earlier this month,’’ Ms Berejiklian said. 

‘‘This builds on the 3900 extra weekly bus services, 734 extra weekly train services and 84 extra weekly ferry services we have introduced in western Sydney and our multi-billion dollar commitment to invest in modernising train services in the west to provide more services more often via targeted major infrastructure upgrades and a second harbour rail crossing.”

Once the first stage of work to identify the best light rail route is completed, a number of viable options will be taken forward for detailed design and feasibility.

“When the rigorous scoping study and business case are developed, the funds will be available to get things started quickly,’’ Ms Berejiklian said.