The NSW Government has announcement it will make a record-breaking investment in rail infrastructure, including full funding the Sydney Metro City and Southwest.

The 2016-17 NSW Budget will fully fund the Sydney Metro City and Southwest, expected to cost $11.5 to $12.5 billion and has allocated funding to light rail, passenger rolling stock and maintenance works.

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has welcomed the announcement.

ARA CEO, Danny Broad said, “The Premier of New South Wales, Mike Baird, is right to refer to the Sydney Metro Rail project as transformational.

“It is the largest public transport project in Australia, creating jobs, opportunities for businesses, urban and community renewal, with the capacity to operate 30 trains an hour through the CBD in each direction

“The capacity across the entire Sydney railway system is expected to increase from 120 to around 200 trains in peak time. This equates to an extra 100,000 passengers per hour in peak time.

“Stage 1 of the project – Sydney Metro Northwest – a 36km track from Rouse Hill to Chatswood is currently under construction with services to commence in 2019. Stage 2 – Sydney Metro City and Southwest – a 30km track from Chatswood, through the CBD, to Bankstown, is expected to open in 2024.

“The ARA supports extending Stage 2 from Bankstown all the way to Liverpool – an economic game-changer for the Liverpool region.

“On completion, this project will see a new, modern, fully-automated, stand-alone railway line of 62km in length that will ease public transport bottlenecks and road congestion for Greater Sydney.”

Mr Broad said it was pleasing to see $1 billion over four years set aside in the budget for new suburban passenger rolling stock.

“The Baird Government’s commitment to Light Rail is also welcome. $142 million in 2016-2017 for Newcastle Light Rail and $64 million in 2016-2017 to progress planning and development works for Parramatta Light Rail are both welcome investments in important and much-needed passenger infrastructure projects.

“This is a pleasing budget for the passenger and light rail sectors, delivering significant investment in both sectors, creating jobs and flow-on benefits for many years to come. The Federal Government should take notice.

“Already this year state governments have announced multi-billion dollar rail infrastructure spending.

“According to the State of Australian Cities report (2014-15), 80 percent of Australia’s gross domestic product (GDP) is attributed to cities with a population of 100,000 or more while 64 per cent of GDP is produced in a city with a population over 1 million.

“The impact of our cities on the nation’s productivity clearly illustrates why the Federal Government should support State Governments by also investing in passenger and freight rail,” Mr Broad said.

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