NSW Government releases Transport Blueprint

As anticipated, the NSW Government released their Transport Blueprint on Monday February 22. Not flawlessly, however, with a minor glitch accidentally placing a number of documents outlining key announcements on a public website on the Friday prior.

The 10 year, $10 billion plan sees the cancellation of the metro network with funds diverted to the expansion of the heavy rail system. Despite this, the plan still allocates almost three times more money to roads than to rail transport.

The key announcements of the plan, according to the Sydney Morning Herald include:

Rail – total spend of $11.2 billion

  • $5.3bn CBD Metro axed
  • $4.5bn Western Express CityRail, including 5km tunnel from Eveleigh to Wynyard
  • $6.7bn north-west rail link (building starts in 2017 with completion in 2024

Light rail – total spend of $500 million

  • 5.6km extension from Lilyfield to Dulwich Hill
  • 4.1km extension from Haymarket to Circular Quay via Barangaroo, carrying an estimated 10,000 passengers per hour

Buses – total spend of $2.9 billion

  • 1,000 new buses
  • Bus priority at traffic lights
  • Completion of 41 bus corridors

Cars / Bikes

  • $21.9bn in unspecified road spending over 10 years
  • $400m for commuter car parks on the Illawarra, East Hills, ad Western lines
  • $158 million to complete cycleways

What has been stripped from the Rees 2031 Transport Blueprint that was due to be announced in December:

  • Epping to Parramatta rail link
  • CBD metro
  • West metro
  • South-east metro from Martin Place to Malabar
  • Metro from Hurstville to Olympic Park

The NSW Premier, Kristina Keneally, has taken personal responsibility for the transport plan, saying: “it is a fully-funded plan we can deliver. Many of these projects commence this year, particularly the new trains, new buses. We start immediately on the light rail, we start immediately on the geotechnical work and the planning work for the Western Express Line. The cabinet has endorsed this plan, the government has endorsed this plan, and this is our plan for Sydney.” The only funding to be sourced from the public will be from an additional $30 fee on the current vehicle registration fees in NSW.

The Herald has been producing a significant volume of editorial content and opinion following the release of the Herald-backed, independent inquiry into Sydney’s public transport, the Christie Report.

PCI is of the opinion that one of the strongest recommendations of the Christie Report is the proposed establishment of an independent “Transport for Sydney” body, which would take over the long-term transport planning and funding from the government. This would override the short-term, lobbyist-influenced politics of the State Government, and ideally deliver a public transport solution in the form of a long-term and all-encompassing approach to the city’s growth as a major world centre.  Parking in this context should be seen as part of the solution and not part of the problem!

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