David Borger, executive director of the Western Sydney Business Chamber said Stage 1 of Parramatta Light Rail is at risk of being a “white elephant” due to funding concerns for future stages of the line.
The Western Sydney Business Chamber is urging the NSW government to allocate funding in the NSW budget to get the next stage of the Parramatta Light Rail ready for construction.
Borger said the NSW government committed to building a Parramatta Light Rail network and the business community don’t want to see Stage 1 put at risk of being a “white elephant because the NSW Government has shelved the next stages”.
“We understand that Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 is awaiting an ‘investment decision’ by the NSW cabinet. My message to government ministers is give the project the green light and let’s get on with connecting Sydney’s central city with its surrounding suburbs,” he said.
Borger said stage 2 of Parramatta Light Rail ticks so many boxes when it comes to a good public transport project and it builds on the taxpayer investment in Stage 1.
In a Business NSW’s NSW Budget Priorities report, released as a pre-budget submission this month, Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 is listed an infrastructure priority.
Business NSW executives stated in the report that Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 has reached the point in its development where further meaningful work needs to be sustained by a government commitment to move forward with the project.
“This budget should allocate funding to allow the next stage of project development to be completed, with an eye to moving towards construction as Stage 1 is completed,” Business NSW executives said.
Infrastructure Australia has also noted the importance of public transport to Parramatta CBD, but Business NSW executives said the next major deliverable that can improve matters has been stuck in a holding pattern since the completion of early business case development.
Connecting hubs of major activity at Parramatta and the Sydney Olympic Park, and joining up the heavy rail, Metro and ferry transport networks, Light Rail Stage 2 serves a fast-growing part of the city.
Borger said the true value of light rail is when it is a network.
“The NSW Government may very well be needing some economic stimulus projects towards the end of the year. Getting Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 shovel ready would be a common sense decision,” he said.
A spokesperson for Parramatta Light Rail said a final Business Case for the second stage of Parramatta Light Rail is currently being considered by the NSW Government, with an investment decision to follow.
Planning work is currently being further developed and informed by consultation with the community, stakeholders, other NSW Government agencies and transport projects including Sydney Metro West.
In October 2017, the NSW Government announced the preferred route for the second stage of the Parramatta Light Rail, which will connect Stage 1 and Parramatta CBD to Ermington, Melrose Park, Wentworth Point, and Sydney Olympic Park.
It will have 10-12 stops over a ten-kilometre two-way track, with travel times of around 25 minutes from Sydney Olympic Park to Camellia, and a further eight minutes to Parramatta CBD.