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Federal Labor infrastructure minister Anthony Albanese has told Sky News even if Badgerys Creek airport wasn't built, the north-south rail line would still been essential.
It comes after Opposition Leader Bill Shorten announced a future Labor government would spend $400 million building rail links in the city's west.
Mr Albanese said the project would be contributing $3.6 billion a year by the year 2040.
'Even if the airport was not there, this north-south rail line would make absolute sense because of the employment lands, because of the investment that is arising out of the airport,' he said.
'Badgerys Creek needs to be not just a runway and a terminal it needs to be a catalyst for jobs and economic activity in western Sydney.'
Mr Shorten said the new rail lines should be ready on the same day the new Western
Sydney Airport opens in 2026.
The Labor leader called on the federal government to include funding in the upcoming May budget.
However, Urban Infrastructure Minister Paul Fletcher refused to say whether the coalition would match that commitment, instead arguing planning was under way for the project.
'We are doing the necessary studies to get the best solution,' Mr Fletcher said on Wednesday.
'The existing rail link to Leppington cost around $1.8 billion for a bit over 11 kilometers, (so) if you use that as the most recent project, the kind of numbers Labor are talking about are a tiny fraction of what it's really going to cost.'
The shadow infrastructure minister hit back at the government, criticizing its 'track record' when it comes to investing in rail.
'The Inland Rail would be completed by now if every time a Coalition minister mentioned it, a sleeper was laid on the track,' he said.
'But the fact is they have not dug a hole, they've slowed up investment on the pacific highway...We'd have a solution to urban congestion if a dollar was given every time Malcolm Turnbull took a selfie of himself on a train.'
Mr Albanese has confirmed the $400 million is only an initial payment, but says it makes up a 'substantial' amount of the total bill for the project.
'In terms of the economic analysis we have said it's conditional on Infrastructure Australia and we would allow them to do their work and full costings,' he said
'It's $400 million more than any other government has on the table.'
A scoping study into the rail needs of western Sydney and the city's second airport is due to be handed to the federal government by the middle of the year.
This article first appeared on www.skynews.com.au
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