Govt urged to see the light

mayor’s plea to build rail line
mayor’s plea to build rail line

WA Transport Minister Dean Nalder last week confirmed the State was considering replacing the MAX light rail service with a bus service.

The bi-articulated buses could carry up to 200 people along the same route proposed for the light rail line, 100 fewer than the rail service.

Cr Italiano said the Mirrabooka town centre structure plan had been based on the premise of light rail, accommodating additional dwellings and commercial floor space.

Cr Italiano said the change from light rail vehicles to buses would result in the need to run three times as many diesel buses.

Mirrabooka MLA Janine Freeman criticised the State Government’s handling of the light rail project in Parliament last week.

‘The City of Stirling recently released its Mirrabooka town centre structure plan and I note that it is planning a town centre on the basis of a light rail system,’ Ms Freeman said.

‘I have said in this place before that the people of Mirrabooka have been betrayed by this government’s not delivering the Metro Area Express light rail.

‘On the basis of the MAX light rail, rezonings from four-storey to 10-storey developments have been made; applications have been made to the development approval panel and the City of Stirling to consider three eight-storey developments to house about 500 residents in 300 apartments.’

The State Government deferred the light rail project by three years after a 2013 financial review, before commissioning a report to ‘validate some of the assumption made’ originally by the State.

Mr Nalder said the 2014 report found the Bus Rapid Transit option could deliver a transport system at almost half the cost.

‘Further analysis is needed, which is why I have asked the Department of Transport and Public Transport Authority to examine this report and provide advice on the validity of the options, following a rigorous and thorough investigation,’ Mr Nalder said.

Cr Italiano said the light rail project would transform Perth in a way that buses could not and called on the State to commit to the project.

‘We have worked closely with the State Government to get the planning right and to incorporate MAX light rail,’ he said. ‘We recognise its benefits.’

Cr Italiano said the City and State had spent close to $15 million on plans for light rail along Scarborough Beach Road over the last eight years.