Should there be a rail connection to Western Sydney airport?

The Commonwealth and New South Wales Governments have released a discussion paper allowing communities to have a say on the options for the makeup of future Western Sydney rail links.

Rail service options outlined in the paper are designed to connect the key areas of a growing Western Sydney, including the Western Sydney Airport site at Badgerys Creek.  

A wide range of views have been expressed about whether there should be a rail connection to Western Sydney Airport, when it should be built, what the right route is and how it should be funded and financed.

Some of the options include an express train running east west between Western Sydney Airport and the Sydney CBD, as well as for a suburban train running north south from Campbelltown to Rouse Hill via Western Sydney Airport.

Minister for Urban Infrastructure Paul Fletcher said, “This discussion paper seeks to lay out the full range of possible routes and seek comment from the community with a view to assisting in the decision making process of choosing which route will be best.

“Planning and investing in the infrastructure needs of Western Sydney is a key part of our plan to support economic development, create new jobs, improve access to jobs, and more affordable housing to improve the liveability of Western Sydney.”

The Western Sydney Airport and rail line will be key elements of the Western Sydney City Deal, presenting an opportunity to link transport planning with long term urban planning and land use, given much of the area surrounding the site is presently greenfields and the airport will not open until the mid-2020s.

“From day one of operation, the proposed Western Sydney Airport will be serviced by world-class transport connections, with the right infrastructure in place at the right time” Mr Fletcher said.

“Work is already underway on a $3.6 billion package of road upgrades to connect the airport site to Sydney’s road network.

“Both governments will use the community consultation process to seek innovative financing models for the rail network. There are already examples of such models in NSW—such as WestConnex and NorthConnex and Parramatta Light Rail.”

The NSW Government’s metropolitan strategy, A Plan for Growing Sydney, highlights the need to create 760,000 more jobs across Sydney—with half located in Western Sydney.

The new airport is expected to generate 60,000 such jobs. Road works already underway are generating around 4,000 local jobs alone.

The consultation period opened 16 September 20126 and will close on 28 October 2016. The final report, which will include a shortlist of preferred rail service options, will be considered by both the Australian and New South Wales governments in early 2017.

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