The Western Sydney Leadership Dialogue today renewed its call for the Federal government to commit priority funding to Metro West as part of the next cycle of transport ‘strategic congestion-busters’ in Western Sydney.
The call followed a dire warning in a new report from the Commonwealth’s own development agency that Western Sydney may face crippling congestion by 2031 without additional immediate action.
Dialogue Chairman Christopher Brown AM described Infrastructure Australia’s five yearly audit report, released today, as an “alarm bell for Western Sydney commuters”.
“We recognise appropriate funding must be given to Western Sydney Airport now, however sequencing projects, such as securing infrastructure funding for Metro West, is critical to ensure Western Sydney maintains its role as the future economic engine room for Australia,” Mr Brown said.
“The report makes it clear that it’s time to loosen the national purse strings to help the NSW State government which has already shown sustained commitment to improving public transport in Western Sydney with some key projects, like Sydney’s Metro and the Parramatta Light Rail project.”
“Committing government funding now to Metro West will help plans to reduce congestion along precisely the kinds of increasingly clogged urban arterials this report is warning us about,” he said.
“Meanwhile the successful first stage of the Metro, which is getting cars off the road in the rapidly growing north-west, makes long-overdue Federal backing for Metro West, an absolute given.”
Infrastructure Australia’s Urban Transport Crowding and Congestion report described Sydney’s rapid expansion as ‘the new normal’ and says the cost of lost productivity due to gridlock is set to double over the next 12 years to more than $38.8 billion.
According to the report Sydney and Melbourne will be impacted the most by population and infrastructure growth as the cost of overcrowded public transport increases. Mr Brown said the Dialogue acknowledged the commitment already made by the NSW Government to transport projects in the region within the last state budget, despite weakening projected revenue, and Canberra’s support for the Western Sydney Airport and its land transport links.