The New South Wales Government has outlined a $14.4 billion investment in public transport infrastructure in its 2018-19 state budget, released this week.
The NSW budget includes an initial $3 billion for Sydney Metro West – connecting Sydney CBD and Parramatta, and $4.3 billion for the Sydney Metro network.
It also includes $258 million to begin construction of the Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1 and another $20 million for Stage 2 planning.
The Newcastle Light rail also receives $110 million in the bumper budget spend for rail.
NSW Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said that as well as building new and enhanced transport networks, this year’s state budget is also focused on continuing to deliver fleet enhancements.
This includines $496 million to continue delivering the New Intercity Fleet for Central Coast, Newcastle, Blue Mountains and Illawarra customers, over $400 million for new trains to service the Sydney Trains network and $179 million to purchase new buses.
“We’re starting a rail tech revolution with $880 million committed for digital systems on the rail network to replace legacy signalling and train control with modern, intelligent systems that will improve service reliability and the network’s ability to recover after major incidents,” Mr. Constance said.
“These funds will also be used to plan for the initial stages of capacity improvements for the T4 Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra and T8 Airport and South lines that will boost frequency on these critical suburban rail lines.”
The budget also includes $133 million for the Transport Access Program to continue to upgrade infrastructure like lifts, escalators, ramps, stations and wharves.
Other public transport and infrastructure highlights in the state budget include:
- $1.5 billion to maintain the Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink Intercity networks
- $1.2 billion for public transport concessions
- $137 million for the Northern Beaches B-Line
- $132 million toward the Central Walk project
- $87 million for Community Transport and Home and Community Care services
The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) welcomed the state governmnet’s spedn on rail in the 2018-19 budget, stating it reinforces the the momentum in rail investment across the country and recognises the intensifying importance that must be placed on rail.
“The allocation of an initial commitment of $3 billion towards Metro West, with a total of $4.3 billion for the Sydney Metro network, including $1.9 billion towards building Sydney Metro City and Southwest and $2.4 billion to complete Sydney Metro Northwest, are all exemplars of a government who is committed to recognising the integral role that rail plays as part of a transport solution,” said ARA CEO Danny Broad.
“The facts don’t lie – The benefits of rail are considerable in relieving congestion, a single train is estimated to replace up to 800 cars during peak hour,” he said.
“Rail also improves the environmental impacts that comes as rail replaces the over use of roads, for example carbon emissions are 40% higher on road than rail per kilometre travelled.
“Rail also has the capacity to move millions of commuters on a daily basis and to build on the efficiencies that flow from improved freight access to our markets.
Mr. Broad said the association also welcomed funds allocated to freight rail initiatives through the $87 million Freight Rail infrastructure upgrades, including the Fixing Country Rail program.
“The NSW Government’s 2018-19 budget is an important step in continuing rail as a centre piece in transport solutions for the NSW economy,” he said.