NSW $30 Billion (AUS) Infrastructure Project
Transport for New South Wales has produced a 20 year state infrastructure strategy which includes 70 priority infrastructure projects with an estimated cost of $30 billion (AUS) “that will improve the productivity and livability of NSW over the next 20 years”.
NSW State Infrastructure Strategy 2012-2032
The independent agency was assigned to produce the strategy in July 2011 with rail making a huge part of the “State Infrastructure Strategy 2012-2032”. Plans for rail transport included in the strategy include increasing capacity in the city centre circle area, and light rail developments in the suburbs.
Retention of the Western Sydney freight line was recommended in the report and the positive impact the Northwest Rail Link will have on introducing a three-tier rail travel system encompassing rapid transit, suburban and inter-city services in Sydney upon it’s completion in 2020 was also highlighted.
Light Rail-Network Incompatible with Strategy
The strategy report has not pleased everyone. The aim of the strategy is to help relieve Sydney’s congestion problems and the strategy has chosen a $10 billion (AUS) West Connex motorway and a $2 billion (AUS) Rapid Bus Transit tunnel under Sydney to achieve this. However, it was hoped a light-rail network would be used as to take cars off the roads amongst other things but the report says this would be expensive and incompatible with a high-quality pedestrian boulevard and existing suburban bus services. Bryan Nye, CEO of Australasian Railway Association has expressed his disappointment with the plans apparent priority for new roads, over rail construction projects. Nye said “Light rail along key routes will take cars off Sydney’s roads, reduce congestion and decrease travel time for all involved. I agree that Sydney needs an integrated transport system but underground rapid bus tunnels are not the solution. If an underground transport network is proposed we should be looking at other cities around the world and introducing an underground rail system.”
NSW government has only committed to the Connex motorway and the Bridges for the Bush programme so far. Barry O’Farrell, the state premier has said he will issue his government’s response to what he describes as the state infrastructure blueprint by the end of the year.