The state government says it stands by its election promise to start building stage two of the Parramatta light rail before the next election but is making no guarantees about delivery time or how it will fund the whole multibillion-dollar project.
As Premier Chris Minns stirred conjecture he is about to scrap or delay the $25 billion Metro West line, the government affirmed it would begin work on the light rail extension during this term of parliament, as Minns vowed in January.
“The Minns Labor government’s election commitments regarding Parramatta light rail stage 2 have not changed,” a spokesperson for Transport Minister Jo Haylen said on Wednesday.
However, the project is part of a broader review of NSW’s $115 billion infrastructure pipeline, led by former Roads and Maritime Services boss Ken Kanofski, which will inform the October budget.
Asked what would happen if the Kanofski review urged restraint on the project, the spokesperson said: “The Kanofski review’s purpose is to align the infrastructure pipeline with the government’s strategic priorities.”
The first stage of Parramatta’s light rail line, from Westmead to Carlingford via Camellia, is close to completion. The second stage, a 10-kilometre route from Camellia to Olympic Park, was due to start construction next year.
Haylen’s office would not provide an expected completion date for stage two of the light rail, nor the total price tag – which was never revealed or budgeted by the previous government. Transport for NSW previously said the line could open in 2031, based on a start date of 2024 or 2025.
Sources connected to the previous government, who did not want to be identified because they were not sure if the information was confidential, said stage two was expected to cost about $2.5 billion to $3 billion.