THE New South Wales state government has committed $A 602.4m ($US 432.9m) to stage 2 of the Parramatta light rail project in Sydney, enabling early works to start and detailed planning to commence.

“Construction on the project will begin with a bridge connecting Wentworth Point to Melrose Park and other early works,” says Mr Rob Stokes, minister for infrastructure, cities and active transport.

Stage 2 involves constructing 12km of double track to connect stage 1 and Parramatta city centre with Ermington, Melrose Park, Wentworth Point, Sydney Olympic Park and Carter Street Precinct.

Following the funding announcement, an environmental impact statement for stage 2 is now due to be released for public consultation by the end of 2022.

Welcoming the announcement, Ms Donna Davis, lord mayor of the city of Parramatta, said “our city is booming and with 29,000 new homes forecast to be built along the proposed light rail alignment over the next 15 years, infrastructure such as this is critical to support growth.”

On stage 1, tracklaying has now been completed and work is continuing to build stops along the 12km double-track route from Westmead to Carlingford via Parramatta city centre and Camellia, with this expected to open in 2023.

“Light rail projects like this are uniquely positioned to drive urban renewal and increased land values and can be the launching pad for further development in the community,” says Ms Caroline Wilkie, chief executive officer of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA).

“Parramatta light rail will help unleash that opportunity and support sustainable lifestyles across Greater Parramatta in the future.”

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