The ACT Government has committed $5 million in matched funding with a Labor Government in NSW to a detailed business case for a faster train service between Canberra and Sydney.
The announcement follows the commitment from NSW Labor leader Luke Foley that a NSW Labor Government would work with the ACT Government on the project and provide $5 million towards the business case.
Chief Minister Andrew Barr said that in a recent Government survey, 57 per cent of respondents said they would be more likely to travel via train between Canberra and Sydney if the travel time was between 2-3 hours.
“The NSW Government and the ACT Government recently made a joint submission to the Federal Government’s National Rail Program. While the Federal Government chose not to support the Canberra region in this bid, the ACT Government is willing to look at alternative ways to get this project off the ground,” he said.
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Mr Foley made the announcement alongside Mr Barr, as well as Labor Candidate for Goulburn, Ursula Stephens, candidate for Monaro, Bryce Wilson, and Federal Member for Eden-Monaro, Mike Kelly at Queanbeyan Station.
He said that reducing the current journey time would encourage tens of thousands of people to commute to Canberra and Sydney from towns such as Yass, Goulburn, the Southern Highlands and Wollondilly Shire.
“If we can reduce rail journey times along the corridor then towns like Goulburn can truly grow as more people choose to live there and work in the region,” he said.
A shift from road to rail also had the potential to take tens of thousands of cars off the roads.
“For the past 18 years, employment in the corridor has grown by 1.7 per cent a year and each day 50,000 people commute into the ACT for work, while around a third of Wollondilly’s residents travel to Greater Sydney for work daily,” he said.
Labor says a faster rail service could be funded from the sale of NSW’s share in the Snowy Hydro if it meets strict criteria.