Budget delivers $10.5 billion for public transport
Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance today announced the 2016-17 NSW Budget includes a record $10.5 billion for public transport, including $2.7 billion to continue delivering Australia’s biggest public transport project – Sydney Metro.
This year’s Budget fully funds the Sydney Metro City & Southwest, which has a cost range of $11.5 to $12.5 billion.
“This year’s transport budget is focused on delivering our massive infrastructure program that will transform NSW,” Mr Constance said.
“Underpinning our massive infrastructure investment are the funds to continue to grow services on existing public transport networks and ensure they are maintained to high standards.”
The Budget includes $1.3 billion for Sydney Metro Northwest, which is set to open in the first half of 2019. Around $1.4 billion has been allocated for the second stage, Sydney Metro City & Southwest.
Planning and delivery of the state’s three new light rail networks will also continue, with $71 million to continue delivery of the CBD and South East Light Rail, $64 million to continue planning and preparatory work for Parramatta Light Rail and $142 million for Newcastle Light Rail.
Train customers will benefit from $407 million to plan, develop and deliver enhancements to infrastructure and fleet to provide increased and improved rail services, including more express services to Western Sydney.
The NSW Budget also sets aside more than $1 billion for new suburban trains. A procurement process will begin in 2016, pending market engagement which will determine the size of the order and timing for delivery. The new trains would support increased patronage across the rail network and additional services.
A record $1.3 billion has been allocated in 2016-17 to renew and maintain the Sydney Trains and NSW TrainLink networks to continue to improve safety and reliability for train customers.
There is also $100 million to continue delivery of Automatic Train Protection to further boost rail safety, as well as $90 million to progress the Rail Operations Centre, a new rail nerve centre that will help reduce delays and provide faster information to customers.
The budget provides $44 million for Wynyard Walk, which is due to open in late 2016 and will improve pedestrian access from Wynyard Station to the western central business district and new Barangaroo precinct.
The Budget also continues the modernisation of the Sydney Ferries network, with $30 million to continue delivery of six new inner harbour ferries, the first of which is due to be delivered by the end of 2016. There is also $17 million to continue construction of a new ferry wharf at Barangaroo and $8 million to kick off the delivery of four new ferries for the Parramatta River.
Growing and improving the bus network is also a focus of this year’s Budget, with $234 million for bus priority work, including $210 million to continue planning and infrastructure development for the B-Line between the Northern Beaches and Sydney CBD. There is also $108 million for around 218 new buses to replace older buses and expand private and public fleets across NSW.
Mr Constance said the challenge of improving public transport accessibility continues to be addressed in this year’s Budget, with $280 million to fund easy access upgrades at train stations, extra car parking across the entire public transport network, improved safety and security, as well us upgrading commuter ferry wharves.
The Government is continuing to work toward improving safety and choice for taxi, hire car and rideshare customers through its point to point reforms, with the Budget delivering $142 million over three years for taxi licensees facing hardship as a result of industry changes, $98 million for payments to taxi licence holders who purchased plates before July 2015 and up to $10 million over three years for a buy-back scheme for perpetual hire car licence owners.
$16 million has been allocated each year to help ensure wheelchair accessible taxis continue to be available for those in the community who crucially rely on them.
The Budget also provides $84 million for community transport and home and community care services for people who cannot drive or catch public transport.
“This is the most pro-public transport Government in the history of NSW, just as Labor is the most anti-public transport Opposition,” Mr Constance said.