Colin Barnett has revealed the Government abandoned a project to deliver a bus rapid transit system to Ellenbrook during the election campaign after a major upward revision of its projected cost to more than $100 million.
The Premier today conceded that for that price tag, a BRT from Ellenbrook to Bassendean train station didn’t make sense when a heavy rail line was the long-term solution.
Although Acting Transport Minister Mike Nahan as recently as Saturday claimed the Government remained committed to the Ellenbrook BRT, Mr Barnett admitted it had “dropped it”.
The Weekend West revealed that the Government came within hours of fulfilling its promise to roll out the BRT as replacement for a heavy rail line to Ellenbrook which it promised in 2008 but also abandoned.
Despite artwork of the route and park-and-ride facilities primed for release during the election campaign, Mr Barnett confirmed it was abandoned because the project originally slated at $61 million had been revised up to $100-$110 million.
“The Government made the decision that that was simply too much money for simply a bus system. Better off waiting ultimately for a rail connection,” he said.
Mr Barnett insisted four days before the March 9 election that the Ellenbrook BRT remained “part of our planning for transport”, but was yesterday unapologetic that it would not materialise.
“We changed our mind. Simple as that,” he said.
Mr Barnett said he expected it would be “quite some time” before a rail line was built to Ellenbrook.
“As the population grows, as I’ve always said, I expect there will be a rail line extension going to Ellenbrook. To spend over $100 million on a bus transitway seems to me a waste of money if the long-term plan is rail to Ellenbrook.”Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said Mr Barnett “makes so many broken promises he doesn’t even know from one day to the next that he’s doing it”.