Sydney Deserves Better Transport

Sydney needs a legislated long-term transport plan, with a single state authority empowered to deliver it and an integrated network that doesn't penalise users who transfer between modes.

I welcome the Opposition's commitment to light rail extensions in the CBD and to UNSW via Taylor Square and Moore Park. I have long advocated for these services and the City of Sydney is ready to help deliver these light rail projects.

To stop Sydney grinding to a halt we need urgent investment in light rail, heavy rail, integrated fares, cycling and walking. "Business as usual" is not an option-we don't have the space to accommodate the predicted traffic growth if we do nothing.

There are almost 15 million trips by vehicles in Sydney each day, with government forecasts for 42 per cent growth over 10 years. Congestion already costs Sydney $4.6 billion, that's forecast to rise to $8 billion by 2015. Road transport produces about nine per cent of greenhouse gas in Sydney.

Across metropolitan Sydney, immediate transport priorities include north-west heavy rail, south-west rail, and doubling the Sydney Harbour crossing capacity.

In central Sydney, the urgent priority is light rail-with a careful reorganisation of bus networks. Light rail is quieter, faster and cleaner than buses and cars, and moves more people. One carriage is equivalent to three crowded buses or 50 cars.

A route to Taylor Square, Moore Park and beyond to UNSW would solve congestion associated with major sporting and cultural events and remove the need for parking on our parklands.

Light rail on George Street can transform the area into an inviting pedestrian boulevard with new opportunities for cafés and retail that reanimate the whole city. Light rail linking Barangaroo, The Rocks, Circular Quay, the retail core and Chinatown will benefit business, tourism and cultural life.

The City of Sydney is delivering sustainable transport options through expanded car share access, supporting electric and bio-gas vehicles, more taxi ranks and working to make walking and bike riding safe and convenient.

Our bike network is a vital project for Sydney's future. Although not yet complete, the past year saw the number of bike trips double and triple in some areas with new bike paths. That's not surprising, as bikes outsell cars in Australia, with over 1.3 million sold in 2010 (compared to one million cars).

Sydney's neglected transport system impacts on Sydney's economy, liveability and sustainability. A sustainable network will deliver more and healthier choices: walking, cycling, buses, light rail, train, taxi and car share-not just endless congestion.

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