AusRAIL, Market Sectors

Rail questions remain despite strong WA budget

<span class="" id="parent-fieldname-description"> Last week’s state budget for Western Australia was packed full of funding commitments for rail projects. But with a shortfall in funding at the federal level, state treasurer and transport minister, Troy Buswell, will have to look to the private sector. </span> <p>The budget assigned $5.7bn to public transport infrastructure, a figure which was highlighted thoroughly by the state government in its press releases and announcements.</p><p>$174 million over four years has been committed to begin the $2bn Airport Rail line, which will include three new stations, carparks and 18 new railcars.</p><p>$432m over four years was committed in the budget towards building the 22km MAX light rail network, which will connect Perth’s northern suburb and its CBD, and will run east to Victoria Park and West to Queen Elizabeth II medical centre.</p><p>Construction for both projects is scheduled to begin in 2016, and to finish three years later, in 2019.</p><p>These two projects were originally slated to rely on $2.5bn in funding from the Federal Government. Before the election, the eventual winner and current premier, Colin Barnett, repeatedly expressed his confidence that the federal funding would be supplied.</p><p>However, the current Labor party has only committed $500m and their rivals in the upcoming election, the Coalition, have pledged not to fund urban rail projects altogether.</p><p>Buswell will therefore likely have to rely on the private sector for the rest of the money needed for these projects.</p><p>Among other items listed in the budget was a 1000-bay, multi-storey car park at Edgewater train station.</p><p>“Edgewater train station is at the heart of one of Perth’s fastest growing areas,” Buswell said. “The City of Joondalup is now home to more than 164,000 people, and more than 900 First Home Owner grants were given out in the city in the last financial year.”</p>