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WA Labor has committed to completing the first stage of its promised Metronet rail network within eight years of taking office.
Under stage one of Metronet - the centrepiece of Labor's transport policy - the party is planning to complete the $2 billion Forrestfield Airport rail line, a project it first announced as part of its original Metronet proposal at the last election.
Labor would also plan and build the long-promised rail line to Ellenbrook, construct a rail extension to Yanchep, connect Mandurah and Thornlie by rail, extend the Armadale line to Byford and build a new station at Karnup, south of Perth.
Labor's Transport spokeswoman, Rita Saffioti, told a Committee for the Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) function in Perth that Labor could deliver on the project.
She said stage one, excluding the airport rail link, was costed last year at $2.5 billion.
"To put some context on that spending, over the past 10 years over $60 billion has been spent on infrastructure by the State Government," she said.
Labor has yet to set out exactly when it will build each of the new rail lines and extensions, but Ms Saffioti said the timeline would be made clear before the March state election.
"Our exact timetable will be announced next year once we have seen the mid-year review financial forecasts, to be released at the end of this month, and also the pre-election financial forecasts," she said.
"We need to know exactly the state of the finances in relation to the timing of our commitments, so we want to make sure what we do is affordable and achievable."
Stage one would also involve a program of removing some level crossings on the Armadale, Midland and Fremantle lines.
Ms Saffioti said the implementation of Metronet would be led by a specialist team embedded inside a revamped Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.
"Under my leadership, the MRA will be less focused on event planning such as Zumba classes and water parks, and with a greater focus on Urban Redevelopment and precinct planning," she said.
Labor vows to plan, cost light rail systemIn the 2013 state election campaign, the Barnett Government sought to neutralise the public popularity of the Metronet concept by announcing rail initiatives of its own.
The first was to match Labor's airport link, while the second was to promise a light rail link to the northern suburbs, called MAX Light Rail.
That project was progressively delayed, shelved and then finally abandoned earlier this year.
Labor wants to revive the idea and has pledged to plan and cost a light rail system during its first term in office.
"We are keen and very excited about introducing light rail back to Perth, and from a land development viewpoint it is a key to developing significant density and better planning outcomes," Ms Saffioti said.
Ms Saffioti told business leaders the complexity of the project meant Labor would carry out planning and financial modelling by 2021.
Marmion rubbishes Opposition's plansThe State Government continues to cast doubt over Labor's Metronet plans, arguing the projects lack detail and funding.
Transport Minister Bill Marmion, who declined an invitation to appear alongside Ms Saffioti at the CEDA function, said Labor needed to explain exactly what it would do and how it would pay for it.
"[Mark McGowan] announces a lot and he doesn't put anything behind what he announces," he said.
"What are the capital costs of those projects? When are they going to start? What's his timeframe? He doesn't put anything around them. He just shoots from the hip."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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