Rail line a costly mistake: Barnett

THE South West metropolitan railway is costing the State too much money to the detriment of health, law and order and eduction, according to Opposition leader Colin Barnett.

Mr Barnett said the decision by the Gallop Government to run the railway along the freeway would cost at least an additional $300 million and could possibly blow out to $2 billion.

“The cost of the railway is impacting on all areas of government,” he said.

“I support the south metro railway but it needs to be built in line with demand and as the community can afford it.”

In 1998 the Court Government’s proposed Kenwick route was estimated to cost $950 million, which in today’s terms would be $1.1 billion.

Mr Barnett believes the Kenwick route could be built in stages to stagger the financial burden, allowing the government to do it as it could be afforded.

He said the first stage to be constructed would be from Kenwick to Thomson Lake. Only once that was built and operational would the next stage to Rockingham be considered on its merits, as would the next stage to Mandurah.

“The project is getting too expensive for the State to sustain,” Mr Barnett said.

Mr Barnett said the Kenwick route would service more people.

He said the new route, which transports commuters directly into Perth, did not take into account that fewer people work in Perth today due to the changing nature of employment.

“The Kenwick route allowed workers to get from Rockingham into Canning Vale and Kewdale, allowing for both blue collar and white collar workers.”

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