New South Wales Premier Mike Baird today announced a $20 billion infrastructure plan which includes a second harbour crossing for trains.
The 30-kilometre Sydney Rapid Transit (SRT) will see the north west rail link extended under Sydney Harbour through the CBD and on to Bankstown in the city’s south-west.
“Today we are announcing an exciting new project – a new rapid transit rail network, including a second Harbour rail crossing and Western Extension – that will unblock a major train bottleneck and transform this city,” Baird said.
He said SRT will boost peak capacity by 60 per cent across the entire rail network making room for about an extra 100,000 people per hour and will include three new CBD underground stations.
The SRT project will allow Sydney Trains to run up to 30 extra trains per hour in each direction and means express trains coming from the west won’t get stuck behind all-stop trains.
The new underground railway stations in the CBD will also reduce crowding at both Wynyard and Town Hall stations.
The government said it is working towards offering a “turn-up-and-go service” which means regular trains and no need for timetables.
Baird said “clogged roads and crowded trains are like a heavy, wet blanket sitting on our lives” and the new infrastructure projects are part of the government’s self labelled “war on congestion”.
“Whether commuting to work or heading out to enjoy this great city, we all want to get there quicker,” he said.
The road and rail projects will be funded by a long-term lease of the state’s electricity distribution and transmission businesses. The Federal Budget includes incentives for the state’s if assets are sold off and the money is invested into infrastructure projects.
“The expected $20 billion in proceeds will be recycled to turbocharge the delivery of key infrastructure projects like these that would otherwise be decades away,” Baird said.
“We have always said that if Cabinet reached a decision to pursue this transaction we would seek a mandate to do so, and we are fulfilling that commitment.
While no start date has been set down he hinted the changes will begin in March next year.
“We have outlined our vision for the future of this state, and we will be taking this once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform this great city to the people of NSW in March 2015,” Baird said.