By Paul Hemsley
City of Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi has continued her push for urban transport renewal by easing the pressure off the city’s traffic jammed roads by calling on Canberra to pour funding into an urban rail link from the city to Perth Airport.
The airport is located inland to the east of the city, which has resulted in heavy traffic congestion and travel times between the city and the eastern dormitory and the Great Eastern Highway because of the limited travel alternatives available to commuters making the trek between the east and the metropolitan area.
To quell the problem of high density traffic coming to and from Perth Airport, City of Perth Lord Mayor Lisa Scaffidi nominated the problem as an analysis project for research carried out by the Allen Consulting Group for the Council of Capital City Lord Mayors (CCCLM).
These groups accepted input from Australia’s capital cities about what infrastructure they believe would improve their economies and employment generated by major infrastructure projects.
According to Ms Scaffidi, the research said that these potential projects across Australia that the Lord Mayors identified are estimated to deliver and an annual and ongoing $1.81 billion boost to Australian cities’ Gross Regional Product.
Ms Scaffidi said that the research estimated the total capital cost of the Airport Rail Link to be about $640.4 million in present value terms, but would have “incremental flow-ons” for economic output, consumption and employment.
“In the construction phase alone, the impact on city economic output is estimated as equivalent to an increase in real Gross Regional Product of some $91 million over a three-year period,” Lord Mayor Scaffidi said.
In addition to the reduced congestion and travel times in and out of the city, the City of Perth has asserted that other benefits would include tourism, business air travel and improved CBD access to interstate and international business travel, which the City claims would improve the business credentials of the city and state.
To contrast the City of Perth’s dilemma, New South Wales was without a direct railway link to its Mascot airport until the state completed the underground Airport Line in 2000, which not only created a significant transport alternative to the airport, but also acted as another major artery in and out of the Sydney CBD for railway commuters.
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