Not one but two Parramatta fast-rail links are on track to become a reality.
The feasibility of connecting the Sydney CBD and western Sydney’s new airport with Parramatta were explored at the 15 minutes – Fast Tracking the Dual CBDs forum.
Parramatta Council and the Sydney Business Chamber hosted the forum, where Aurecon and Deloitte unveiled their discussion paper findings.
There are four route options for the 15-minute fast train between Parramatta and the CBD.
“This is more than just a thing, it’s a plan that’s potentially game changing,” Parramatta lord mayor Paul Garrard told the forum.
“We need to start a conversation aimed at turning these aspirations into a reality. The government and private sectors should take a leap of faith to make it happen.”
A link to the Western Sydney Airport is proposed to go via the southern Liverpool LGA or the Blacktown LGA and would take 25 minutes from Parramatta.
Federal ministers Paul Fletcher and Angus Taylor said the unfunded rail links could be made possible through value capturing.
City of Sydney lord mayor Clover Moore suggested governments instead redistribute the money allocated to WestConnex, which was diverted from public transport funding.
“Sydney does well in global city rankings but gets marked down for poor public transport,” she said.
“The answer isn’t building more toll roads.”
Aurecon Group technical director Kate Wickett said the challenge was changing people’s mindsets.
“We need to make public transport more attractive so people want to use it,” she said.
There were mixed views on which fast-rail route would be more viable.
“The first link should be between Parramatta and the CBD as that’s where the economic benefits will derive from,” Parramatta Council chief executive Greg Dyer said.
Sydney Business Chamber western Sydney director David Borger added:
“We need to start with the most viable option. But it would be great to have the airport connected to rail from day one.”
Parramatta MP Geoff Lee prefers the airport link and urged planners to look at the bigger picture.
“The real need is for rail from Badgerys Creek to Parramatta to act as a catalyst for development,” he told the Sun.
“I would liked to see a fast-rail route including Canberra, Goulburn, the airport, Parramatta and the CBD. You could develop inland places like Goulburn and make it a 40-50 minute commute from there. I support fast-rail links. The trick is I think we need a bigger plan.”