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The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has commended the NSW Government for delivering one of the most comprehensive state budgets for the rail industry this nation has seen.
While no new projects have been announced, the budget promised spending on a number of projects.
ARA CEO Bryan Nye said the rail industry has long been calling for greater investment in passenger and freight rail infrastructure throughout NSW, with Sydney at risk of grinding to a halt in the near future if congestion-busting projects were not given the green light.
“[The Budget’s] funding commitments for key rail projects will not only ease Sydney’s congestion, but will trigger the much needed shift of moving people and freight off the overcrowded and bottlenecked roads and on to the more efficient and environmentally sustainable tracks,” Mr Nye said.
The 2013-14 Budget includes $4.1 billion for the North West Rail Link over four years with tunnel boring machines due to be in the ground next year, and $353 million for the continuation of works for the South West Rail Link.
“During the one-hour peak of morning travel around 100,000 people are transported by train in Sydney. This extra funding partnered with the introduction of innovative technology, such as driverless trains, will increase productivity and efficiency on Sydney’s rail network allowing for the city’s 100,000+ morning commuters to travel to work quickly, easily and safely,” said Mr Nye.
The ARA also commended the government’s continued commitment to light rail with a further $67 million to complete the Inner West Light Rail Extension and $423 million investment over the next four years for the new CBD and South East light rail linking the CBD with Randwick and Kingsford.
Also welcomed are commitments to the country regional network, in the order of $177 million of which $48 million was allocated for work on grain lines.
“The improvements to eight level crossings resulting from funding in this budget will also have a significant benefit to road safety,” added Mr Nye.
“While human error from car and truck drivers is still the most significant factor in level crossing incidents, upgrading the infrastructure by adding boom gates or flashing lights can reduce the likelihood of these tragedies occurring.”
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