Labor plans to spend $2.
1 billion on a 14-kilometre rail link to ease congestion in Sydney’s western suburbs.
This is the government’s single biggest election campaign spending plan and makes good on a state Labor government promise from a decade ago shelved earlier this year.
Infrastructure and transport minister Anthony Albanese said it was important for Parramatta to grow as Sydney’s second central business district.
“So what we are doing in building the 14 kilometre Parramatta to Epping rail link is ensuring that this missing link that we know is viable, we know it’s necessary and we know it’s a much needed project for Western Sydney, can go ahead,” he told ABC Radio.
“That will have the added bonus of people to the west of Parramatta getting increased capacity on the western line for the western express services that are anticipated as part of the state government’s transport plan.
” The plan will be formally announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and NSW premier Kristina Keneally om Western Sydney on Wednesday.
Through this plan, $500 million of state government money will be spent first with the federal government picking up 80 per cent once the budget returns is back in surplus. Mr Albanese said Sydney was facing particular pressure.
“We have been able to come to this agreement with the NSW government whilst having no impact on the budget bottom line,” he said. Mr Albanese rejected suggestions this was simply rewarding the incompetence of the NSW Labor government.
“No, what we are doing here is partnering with the state Labor government,” he said.
“They have been working very closely with Infrastructure Australia.
“They have produced a transport plan for the next 10 years. What they showed in that was that there were a number of projects that cou ld be brought forward with support from the Commonwealth.”
The rail line covers five Labor-held electorates and has already been dubbed the Bradbury express after Labor MP David Bradbury whose electorate of Lindsay is facing growing population pressure.
Mr Albanese said there had been considerable growth in two key areas which were producing a great deal of economic activity.
“Therefore it makes sense for there to be this investment and for this project to go ahead,” he said.