NSW Opposition Leader John Robertson has called on the NSW Government to build both the Northwest Rail Link (NWRL) and Parramatta to Epping Rail Link (PERL), arguing that it doesn’t have to be one or the other and that federal government funding means it could build the PERL for only $520m while the Commonwealth contributes $2.1bn.
The reality is not quite as simple. Mr Robertson is using outdated figures, as the $2.6bn cost for the PERL has since blown out to $4.4bn. This means that the state government’s contribution wouldn’t be the affordable $520m quoted, but more than 4 times that: $2.3bn. This could just about pay to build all the light rail projects currently being considered by the government. And while the federal government has committed cash to the PERL while denying funding to the NWRL, the head of Infrastructure Australia has pointed out that the NWRL is a higher priority than the PERL.
Based on that, the chances of both rail lines being build together seem slim to nil.