AUSTRALIA: New South Wales Premier Mike Baird, Minister for Transport & Infrastructure Andrew Constance and Minister for Planning Rob Stokes announced the preferred route for the Parramatta Light Rail project on December 8.

The 22 km line in the western suburbs of Sydney is intended to connect Westmead and Strathfield via the Parramatta business district and Sydney Olympic Park. The 7 km Clyde – Carlingford branch, now operated by Sydney Trains as Line T6, would be converted to light rail. A frequent tram service would replace the current half-hourly shuttle using a four-car electric multiple-unit.

In October 2014 the NSW government announced a shortlist of four routes, and the preferred alignment combines two of these.

Work will now begin on a final business case and assessment, which will include detailed design and the final cost.

The NSW government has committed A$1bn to the project, and is to discuss funding contributions with the federal and local governments. It will also consult on a dedicated levy, expected to be around A$200/m2 of gross floor area of new residential developments, to fund the light rail network and associated infrastructure.