THE Australian and New South Wales governments today announced a rail options plan to examine Western Sydney’s rail transport needs, including serving the proposed Western Sydney Airport and the booming Western Sydney Priority Growth and Land Release Areas.
We are getting on with the job of making the proposed Western Sydney Airport a reality, with the official declaration of the airport site and community consultation now underway on a detailed draft Airport Plan and draft Environmental Impact Statement.
We know Western Sydney’s population is set to increase from two million to three million over the next 20 years so this options plan will look at rail transport needs for the airport, as well as surrounding communities and employment lands.
Construction has already started on the $3.6 billion Western Sydney Infrastructure Plan of major road upgrades to meet the needs of the community and service the proposed airport.
This options plan will consider rail as part of the broader transport network needed to support an airport and Western Sydney’s growth.
We are planning for the airport to be ‘rail ready’ when it opens with space for a station and tunnels excavated, as well as investigating the best options for the rail link – the right route, when to build it and how best to fund it.
There is no doubt there will need to be a rail line one day linking the proposed Western Sydney Airport and surrounding communities. The options plan will help us determine the type of rail, when it will be required and how much it will cost to lock-in the right transport solution for the future. The scoping study will also consider funding and financing issues, including whether value capture techniques could assist meeting the funding requirement.
We have already committed to ensuring the proposed airport is ‘rail ready’ from day-one, meaning that we can start running services as soon as the demand is there. At the same time, the NSW Government has been consulting the community on possible North-South rail alignments from Leppington to St Marys.
The momentum continues to grow on this game-changing project for Western Sydney and we are working together to make sure we have the right transport in place to connect the airport site and surrounding employment areas with Western Sydney’s growing residential areas.
The rail options plan will be completed over the next 12 months and will investigate economic, population and commercial drivers, as well as mapping out costs and timeframes. There will be opportunities for the public to have their say as part of an informed discussion on Western Sydney’s future transport needs.
The rail options plan will take into account existing reports as well as plans for the future rail needs of Sydney.