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The State Government has wasted no time starting the first two rail projects of its Metronet vision.
Transport Minister Rita Saffioti this week confirmed that business cases were being prepared for the extensions of the Joondalup line to Yanchep and the Thornlie line to Cockburn.
She said they would be submitted to the Federal Government, to be considered for Commonwealth funding from the $1.2 billion promised to WA for the now defunct Roe 8 and 9.
During the election campaign, Labor promised to build the $474 million Thornlie extension and the $386 million Joondalup extension by 2021.
While the previous Barnett government had done some work on both rail projects, Ms Saffioti said the plans were being reworked to incorporate improved land use.
“It’s not just a matter of working out where the stations will be,” she said. “We want to make sure we use public transport investment as a vehicle for positive planning and transport outcomes.
“Metronet is as much a land-use plan as a transport plan.
“Too many times we have planned public transport and then tried to retrofit planning outcomes, usually at a greater expense.
“We need to get the planning right from the start. Focusing on creating a vibrant, well-connected centre that people want to live in, our train stations need to be part of the community — close to where people live, as well as somewhere people feel safe.
“They should be more than just places where we tag on and tag off.”
“We want to make sure we use public transport investment as a vehicle for positive planning and transport outcomes”Rita Saffioti
Ms Saffioti said that improving land-use outcomes would not be restricted to new train stations.
She said she would also look at improved infrastructure along Perth’s heritage rail lines — Fremantle, Midland and Armadale — with a view to increasing housing density where possible.
Less than a week after being sworn in as minister, Ms Saffioti convened a meeting of departmental heads to discuss the implementation of Metronet.
Attendees included the directors-general and chief executive officers from the Department of Premier and Cabinet, the Department of Treasury, Main Roads, the Department of Finance, the Department of Transport, Landcorp, the Public Transport Authority, the Department of Planning, the WA Planning Commission and the Metropolitan Redevelopment Authority.
Ultimately, a smaller super-group of key bureaucrats and members of the private sector will oversee Metronet’s implementation.
“It was a very positive, two-hour discussion,” Ms Saffioti said.
“A lot of people brought good ideas to the table.
“I think there was a degree of excitement about what we were proposing.”
In ruling out future toll roads or congestion charges, Ms Saffioti said the State Government would also look to the Commonwealth for financial assistance with some major road projects.
These could include the promised widening of Wanneroo Road, the duplication of Armadale Road and the upgrade of the High Road/Stirling Highway intersection.
Ms Saffioti said preparations were also under way on the design stage of the controversial Ellenbrook rail line.
This article first appeared on thewest.com.au
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