THE WA Liberals have promised to build an airport rail link if they win next month’s state election, after Labor announced an ambitious Metronet project in late January.
If re-elected on March 9, the Liberals have pledged to build a $1.895 billion airport rail link transporting domestic and international passengers to and from Perth Airport.
Premier Colin Barnett says as well as offering public transport to travellers, the rail link will also offer more options to residents in the eastern suburbs wanting to travel into the city, as well as businesses at the proposed airport business and industrial park.
“Our airport line will take Western Australians and tourists straight to the doorstep of the airport terminal, delivering maximum convenience and cost savings for travellers,” he said.
Under the Liberal model, trains would run at least every 10 minutes at peak times and airport trains would integrate with services on the existing Midland line, meaning increased train frequencies between Bayswater and Perth.
Transport Minister Troy Buswell said the project would have three stations and 3000 car bays and would be built by 2018.
“Unlike the Labor party’s airport rail line, the Liberal Party will not leave you sweating or shivering waiting for a shuttle bus more than 1km down the road,” he said.
“We will take you directly to both the international and domestic terminals.”
Labor’s Metronet project would include a 10.5km rail line to Perth’s international airport – and would serve domestic terminals when they are relocated to adjacent land in coming years – at an estimated cost of $731.5 million, not including rail cars.
Labor’s entire Metronet project servicing the metropolitan area is expected to cost $3.8 billion but the Liberals have mocked the ambitious scheme, saying it is more likely to cost $6.4 billion.
Labor leader Mark McGowan said Mr Barnett could not be trusted to build a rail line to Perth Airport.
He said the Liberal party’s pledge would become a broken promise, like the Ellenbrook rail line promised at the previous election, describing the Premier’s announcement as a “hoax”.
“The Liberal Party will simply break this promise because they have no credibility on public transport,” Mr McGowan said.
He said the Liberals’ plan also involved unnecessary tunnelling.
Mr McGowan made a further Metronet announcement on Sunday, pledging $590 million to buy 144 new rail cars and build a train depot over eight years.
The new trains would have driver-supervised automatic train operation, leading brake technology, energy-efficient lighting, air conditioning and passenger information systems, he said.
Labor would also ensure all new generation rail cars had security with CCTV cameras and free Wi-Fi, Mr McGowan said.
“The trains bought for the new Perth Airport rail line will be configured to ensure ample luggage space for travellers,” he said.
“Modern train technology means they will be more environmentally friendly, use less power, provide a smoother ride and have lower operating cost.”
However, Mr Buswell said Labor’s entire rail plan was a fantasy that would never be delivered because it was under budgeted.
“This obvious infrastructure announcement today to provide more rail cars for this fantasy is therefore immaterial,” he said