The West

Plan for Curtin light rail link put on hold
Plan for Curtin light rail link put on hold

The future of Perth's light rail network is in doubt after it was revealed that the proposed connection to Curtin University was dropped from the State Government's latest modelling.

Transport Minister Troy Buswell yesterday confirmed that light rail to the university would not be completed by 2020 as stated in the draft Perth Public Transport Plan released last year.

Mr Buswell would not confirm whether the proposed University of WA/Queen Elizabeth II Medical Centre connection would go ahead as planned.

The Curtin and UWA lines, along with the Mirrabooka line, were earmarked as Stage 1 projects in the draft plan.

They were to be running by 2020 before Stage 2 projects, including light rail to the airport and through Subiaco, started.

Mr Buswell said the Government's latest planning had made the Mirrabooka line a priority because of limited funding.

"These are very expensive projects first to plan, then to build and then finally to operate, so our decision was that the area we would deliver the light rail to first would be Mirrabooka," he said.

"Some people may be disappointed about that but ultimately we have a finite amount of capital to spend and we have to prioritise how we are spending it."

Town of Victoria Park chief executive Arthur Kyron said he was surprised and disappointed by the decision and said the council would campaign for the Government to reconsider.

"We included the light rail connection in our future housing, traffic and town planning so to find that it is not going to happen, it's a significant setback for us," he said.

"With all the developments under way in Victoria Park as well as the Curtin town proposal, light rail is vital in connecting the increasing population in the area with the business district and town centre.

"We see light rail as a real development, rather than some pie-in-the-sky development. For us it is a real impetus to growth in our town."

Mr Kyron said he feared that if the Curtin rail connection was not included in the planning now, it may drop off the Government's radar and never be seriously considered or implemented.

Shadow transport minister Ken Travers said the Government should be moving public transport infrastructure such as light rail forward, not pushing it back.

"The Government clearly doesn't understand that we are facing a congestion crisis," he said. "They need to stop making bad decisions and get their priorities right."

The West Australian

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