Plan slashes rail line cost

Rita Saffioti and Mark McGowan discuss the proposed route.
Rita Saffioti and Mark McGowan discuss the proposed route.

The figures suggest the railway could be built for as little as $700 million ” $345 million less than the State Government’s estimate of $1.04 billion.

A major cost of the line is associated road infrastructure needed to cater for it.

West Swan MP Rita Saffioti said Labor’s new rail plan would include $408 million of interchanges along Tonkin Highway where it intersects with Reid Highway, Benara Road, Morley Drive and Collier Road ” all of which are already included in the Perth-Darwin Highway project.

But the plan would rest on whether or not the Government leaves a six-metre gap in the middle of the highway, similar to the Mitchell Freeway.

It is understood the Government is in agreement with the rail plan, with Transport Minister Dean Nalder confirming to The Advocate that the highway would include space for a railway.

A spokeswoman for Mr Nalder said the Perth-Darwin Highway project had provision for a median between the carriageways that could accommodate the railway.

Ms Saffioti said by doing the planning now, the cost of eventually building the railway would be reduced.

‘To future proof this project we need to make sure we leave the space now, in particular on the flyovers project and the Perth-Darwin Highway, to allow a railway line to be built later.

‘This is a significantly growing part of the metropolitan area, in particular for first-home buyers, and we should be doing what we can to reduce congestion and improve travel times.

‘All we’re asking is that the Government leaves the space, so future public transport infrastructure can be rolled out at minimal cost.’

Labor leader Mark McGowan said the Ellenbrook railway line remained a top Labor priority.

‘If you think about the Kwinana Freeway when the Mandurah railway line was put in, there was enough space in the middle of the freeway to allow for the railway line,’ he said.

‘It was a fortuitous piece of planning…what we are saying is the same thing needs to be done here to ensure there is that prospect in the future.’