Plans for a new $1.6 billion light rail network have been unveiled as part of Sydney’s future transport master plan.
New South Wales Premier Barry O’Farrel has described the plans as “a once-in-a-generation project to revitalise the centre of Sydney”.
The new 12 km route will link Circular Quay and Randwick via Sydney’s bustling George Street.
Early estimates have put the project time frame between five and six years, with construction due to begin in 2014.
Funding will come out of the transport budget and through private-sector investment.
“Congestion on roads in the Sydney CBD and surrounding areas will only get worse as the number of jobs in the city grows and the population increases – we have to act and in a significant way,” said Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian.
“With the introduction of light rail and the redesigned bus network announced today, we will be able to significantly reduce the number of buses clogging the city’s streets and provide fast and reliable links for people to key destinations like the Prince of Wales Hospital, University of NSW, SCG, Allianz Stadium, Moore Park, Central and Circular Quay.”
Other projects highlighted in Sydney’s transport plan include the North West Rail Link and South West Rail Link, Second Harbour rail crossing and CBD station upgrades.
Australasion Rail Association chief executive Bryan Nye said: “The golden age of the car in Australia has well and truly ended, rail is coming back in a big way.
“Additionally, the pedestrianisation of a significant chunk of George Street that this project will facilitate is effectively giving part of the CBD back to the people, thereby activating the city’s heart and stimulating the entire Sydney economy.”