Upgrading the Canberra to Sydney rail link so it can provide a faster service has been listed as a priority project by Infrastructure Australia.
Infrastructure Australia today delivered the 2020 Infrastructure Priority List (IPL) with the rail link featuring as a joint priority initiative between the ACT and NSW governments.
But the ACT’s bid for improvements to Parkes Way and Fairbairn Avenue, to be listed as part of the ACT East-West Regional Freight Network, was not successful.
Possible work on the link could include track straightening and duplication, track formation renewal, electrification and signalling upgrades and new rolling stock, according to the listing.
It also says that the potential role of high speed rail in the future should also be considered. Preserving a corridor for a high speed rail line on the east coast of Australia is separately included
on the list as a High Priority Initiative.
Minister for Transport Chris Steel welcomed the rail link listing, saying the Government had been advocating for an improved rail service between Canberra and Sydney for a number of years.
“Investment in this link will not only make train travel a faster and more appealing option for Canberrans travelling to and from Sydney, but it will also provide better connections with regional towns,” he said.
“It’s time for the Federal Government to get on board with faster rail, and take this infrastructure investment proposal seriously.”
The NSW Government has committed part of the $4.2 billion from the sale of Snowy Hydro to upgrading regional rail links, including Canberra-Sydney, to slash travel times.
It has said the more-than four-hour run to Sydney could be cut to three, and eventually down to just one.
Mr Steel said the ACT Government was disappointed that Infrastructure Australia has not included the road links on the IPL as upgrading Parkes Way, in particular, would significantly help reduce congestion throughout the City as well as along the East-West route.
“However, we hope that continued planning will see this upgrade to this federally owned road recognised as one of both regional and national significance,” he said.
Keeping its place on the 2020 IPL as a priority initiative are improvements to Canberra’s public transport network, including the development of transit corridors connecting Belconnen and Queanbeyan to central Canberra.
“The continued inclusion of this initiative on the IPL reaffirms the national significance of the ACT Government’s investments in public transport infrastructure,” Mr Steel said.
Infrastructure Australia has also identified 16 initiatives for national infrastructure programs that were independently identified by Infrastructure Australia including waste and recycling, water, road network safety and Indigenous art and cultural facilities.
“We welcome the 2020 IPL and as a Territory I am confident we are actively prioritising infrastructure initiatives to support Canberrans in the ACT and as they move around our region,” Mr Steel said.
“We look forward to continuing to working with the NSW and Federal Governments to progress these projects.”