After months of consultation, two more METRONET projects have passed the thorough Infrastructure Australia process and have now been given the green light.

The Yanchep Rail Extension and Thornlie-Cockburn Link will be delivered under a single alliance contract, with a shortlist for tenderers to be announced in early 2019. The projects are backed by a joint funding arrangement between the Commonwealth and Western Australian governments.

Consistent with its assessment framework, Infrastructure Australia has positively evaluated both projects on their individual merits, confirming the WA Government’s advice that each will deliver a positive return on investment for the community.

Meanwhile, both METRONET rail extensions are now enshrined in law after State Parliament passed enabling legislation for the Yanchep Rail Extension and Thornlie-Cockburn Link projects in mid November 2018.

The Railway (METRONET) Bill 2018, due to receive Royal Assent, will authorise construction of the rail infrastructure for these two projects, which will add significant capacity to Perth’s public transport network and sustainably grow the city.

The Thornlie-Cockburn Link will make travelling around the city by train more convenient and improve public transport links to Perth’s southern suburbs.

The Yanchep Rail Extension is a project that will deliver the final section of the Joondalup rail line from Butler to Yanchep, supporting the area’s ongoing growth as well as reducing congestion on roads.

Infrastructure Australia Acting Chief Executive, Anna Chau, said, “Growing urban congestion in Greater Perth has been identified by Infrastructure Australia as a nationally significant problem, driven in part by the city’s limited public transport options and a tendency towards low-density development which has led to high car use compared to other Australian capital cities.

“Perth’s population has grown strongly over the past 20 years, and is expected to increase from two million people in 2017 to 2.9 million people by 2031, and 3.5 million people by 2050. Creating more integrated transport networks will be essential to guard against congestion and overcrowding, and maintain Perth’s world-renowned liveability.

“Without action to increase public transport use, additional demand for travel will be absorbed by Perth’s road networks, which are already constrained in peak periods. Congestion on the Mitchell Freeway means that journeys on this road can take twice as long as they should, with cars travelling at an average of 50km/h in the morning peak when the speed limit is 100km/h.

“Part of the WA Government’s METRONET program, the Yanchep Rail Extension involves extending the Joondalup Line from Butler Station to Yanchep, with new stations planned for Alkimos, Eglinton and Yanchep to support population growth in the city’s north-west.

“With a stated benefit-cost ratio of 2.6 from the WA Government, Infrastructure Australia is confident that extending the Joondalup Rail Line to this growth area will provide more transport choices for residents and reduce demand on the roads,” Ms Chau said.

Minister for Transport, Rita Saffioti, said, “We have worked closely with Infrastructure Australia to thoroughly address their assessment criteria in demonstrating how these projects will help build a future Perth that is connected and offers people more choices for travel, housing and jobs.

“Infrastructure Australia approval and the passing of enabling legislation marks an exciting new stage for these major projects, which underpin the Government’s plans to change Perth’s public transport system and improve urban outcomes.

“This is a very busy time for public transport planning in WA, and by the end of next year, we will have three separate rail projects under construction, bringing our commitment to METRONET another step closer.”

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