UWA rail doubt under Abbott

A local public transport forum will discuss light rail to UWA.
A local public transport forum will discuss light rail to UWA.

WA Greens Senator Scott Ludlam said if Mr Abbott won the election the proposed MAX light rail tram route to UWA and a Perth Airport spur line would not get the $550 million offered by the present Federal Government.

In February, a report by the Property Council of WA, the Australian Urban Design Research Centre and The Greens proposed seven light rail-apartment corridors, including MAX.

‘These projects should be built and both the State and Federal governments should consider alternative to pay for them including borrowing against the increased value of land along the routes, rates increases and capital gains,’ Sen Ludlam said.

Mr Abbott said Canberra did not fund suburban rail, before the State Government said it would start the $1.9 billion MAX line and $2 billion airport spur by borrowing in its Budget.

Sen Ludlam said it was reasonable to say the western suburbs deserved light rail less than the other corridors with lower land prices and greater apartment building opportunities, but a line to the university completed a natural route from the CBD.

Curtin MHR Julie Bishop said the Coalition backed funding 80 per cent of national road projects instead of Labor’s 50 per cent and would support road and freight enhancing the economy, promoting interstate commerce and supporting exports, like Gateway WA near Perth Airport and the Roads to Recovery and Black Spot programs.

‘State and local governments have primary responsibility for urban passenger transport which are State-owned enterprises,’ she said, about the governments’ co-operation for planning, zoning and infrastructure.

A reformed Infrastructure Australia would consider states’ urban rail by states but the Coalition’s focus was on national road and rail.

An Australian Labor Party spokesman said $550 million for WA rail for 10 years remained despite the State borrowing for MAX and the spur.