As I write this post on the eve of the 2023 NSW state election, the major parties are neck-and-neck in the opinion polls. I’m not going to attempt to pick the result but there is already one clear winner, at least on paper – the Sydney metro network. .
There has been relatively little discussion about public transport policy during the campaign. The LNP government is basically promising more of the same – completion of the City and South West Metro and Parramatta Light Rail Stage 1, along with continued building of the Sydney West Airport Metro and Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2. It would also cut the weekly adult Opal card cap from $50 to $40, while the cap for concession holders would be cut from $25 to $20.
Meanwhile, the Labor opposition has committed to the same infrastructure projects, plus additional funding to ensure Parramatta Light Rail Stage 2 commences within the next term of government. It is also committing to a target of 50% minimum local content for future rolling stock contracts, ending the privatisation of public transport and improving bus services. It has not committed to the cut in the Opal cap.
The most significant differences have emerged over the construction of additional metro lines. In February the government made the announcement that it would “kick off the process of delivering four new metro lines in Western Sydney by undertaking the final business cases for the new routes” at a total cost of $260 million. The proposed lines are:
- Tallawong to St Marys – 20 kilometres with six or seven potential stations
- Westmead to the Aerotropolis – 37 kilometres with six or eight potential stations
- Bankstown to Glenfield – 20 kilometres with the number of stations to be determined
- Macarthur to the Aerotropolis – 23 kilometres with six to seven potential stations.