Home' Future Building: The Australian Infrastructure Review : Volume 3 Number 1 Contents futurebuilding 23
Volume 3 Number 1
New South Wales plots transport revolution
'Congestion is a concern for all Sydneysiders, and
if you think you are in traf c, you are in traf c. It's not
a relative concept,' said Rees.
'It's no good for me saying, "Oh, it's much worse
in New York or Paris."
'It's like being in love. If you think you are in love,
you are in love. If you think you are in traf c, you are
in traf c.'
While it was a curious metaphor, the point, Rees
later explained, was that Sydney's commuters don't
care about the fact that congestion is worse around
the world; they only care how it affects them.
Unfortunately for many Sydneysiders, the task
of simply getting to and from work each day has
been laborious. Crippling congestion on major
motorways, inef cient freight networks and decades
of underinvestment in the state's railways have all
played a major role in New South Wales's stuttering
productivity performance over the past decade.
And while all sides of politics agree that transport
networks in New South Wales are inadequate
for a growing population, there remains a lack of
consensus on appropriate solutions.
Just days after Rees spoke of Sydney's congestion
woes, he announced a multi-billion dollar plan for
a CBD metro service. The agship project, which
would have consisted of a nine-kilometre railway
running from Rozelle to the CBD, was later delayed,
and then ultimately scrapped in 2010 by Rees's
successor, Kristina Keneally.
The project's axing was a nancial disaster,
costing the state more than $400 million and resulting
in severe public and industry backlash from which
the government never recovered.
Voters demanded change, and the subsequent
election win by the Coalition was accompanied by a
strong mandate for reform.
The message from voters was clear: x the mess
and start to deliver real plans, backed by real projects.
The government's response has been a suite of
governance and operational reforms to remedy the
state's ailing transport networks and nally start to
deliver commuters more ef cient, reliable services.
One of the most signi cant reforms was the
creation of Transport for NSW (TfNSW) to integrate
planning across modes and agencies to deliver a
single, statewide transport plan. The creation of
TfNSW saw the Roads and Traf c Authority (RTA)
and NSW Maritime replaced by Roads and Maritime
Services (RMS), and the Country Rail Infrastructure
Authority and the Transport Construction Authority
brought together under Transport for NSW.
And in a rst for the state's transport sector,
strategy, planning and policy functions were taken
away from transport providers such as RailCorp,
leaving them to concentrate on service delivery and
BELOW: Sydney Ferries
have been a target for
change, and the
win by the Coalition
was accompanied by
a strong mandate for
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