NSW councils plead for transport committment

By Rob O’Brien

NSW councils have asked the State Government to make a firm financial commitment to its latest plan to address transport infrastructure.

Welcoming the announcement of the Metropolitan Transport Plan for Sydney, the Local Government and Shires Association (LGSA) said that projects needed to get underway immediately.

“We’re pleased the government has listened to our concerns and have come up with a well-developed and sensible transport plan that considers the needs of residents all over Sydney,” said LGSA President Cr Genia McCaffery.

“Abolishing the CBD Metro and extending the light rail network from Dulwich Hill into the city was a logical and relatively inexpensive answer to the congestion issues in the Sydney CBD and inner suburbs.
However, Cr McCaffery said it was unfair to make Western Sydney residents wait until 2015 for the new Western Sydney express line and 2017 for construction of the North West line.
“With the CBD metro project now cancelled, the focus should be on extending these heavy rail lines immediately, rather than forcing taxpayers to wait another five years for any sign of new construction – let alone a much longer wait for the projects to actually finish,” she said.
“It’s disappointing the government has failed to recommence the Parramatta to Epping link – a critical connecting route between the job and growth areas of western and northern Sydney.
Parramatta City Council Lord Mayor, Cr Paul Garrard, described the plans, which were unveiled yesterday, as a “kick in the teeth” for the people of Parramatta and Western Sydney.
“Parramatta is used to disappointment from the State Government when it comes to transport issues,” Cr Garrard said.

“First the State Government decided to cut our commuter RiverCat service, then it axed the Epping rail-link. Now it has scrapped the West Metro.”

“Parramatta is the biggest CBD outside of Sydney, yet the State Government continues to ignore the transport needs of the 45,000 commuters who use our services daily,” he said.
Cr MacCaffery said that the delivery of important transport infrastructure in NSW would be helped by having one single state agency.
“The government needs to make a firm financial commitment to the Metropolitan Transport Plan and get the ball rolling on projects to ensure residents all over Sydney have access to an equitable and reliable transport network.
“As recommended in the Christie Report, we’d still like to see a single overarching body to overcome the confusing range of government departments, agencies and planning authorities that currently oversee transport planning and development."

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