AITPM Fellow Graeme Pattison has been sifting through the 2019-2020 budget documents of the NSW Government.
In 2019-20, the Transport cluster will spend $29.5 billion ($14.4 billion recurrent expenses and $15.1 billion capital expenditure).
There are some 36 Key initiatives although one AITPM member felt there is a fair number of re-announcements in the list. There is also the suggestion that the road authority helicopter that has been a major part of developing the SCATS coordinated traffic signal system might be replaced with drones.
Apart from major infrastructure construction, some of the items that give an indication of the diversity of the spending are listed below.
1. $334 million ($885 million over four years) to upgrade a further 68 train stations and additional ferry wharves under the Transport Access Program to make them more accessible including new lifts, ramps and footbridges
2. $87 million for Community Transport and Home and Community Care services to assist people who have difficulties accessing transport who are not otherwise eligible for the Commonwealth-funded National Disability Insurance Scheme
3. $42 million ($173 million over four years) for transport disability subsidies to extend the Taxi Transport Subsidy Scheme and the Wheelchair Accessible Taxi Driver Incentive Scheme
4. $25 million ($357 million over four years) in NSW and Australian Government funding to provide additional car spaces through the Commuter Car Parking Program.
Safe and Reliable Travel
5. $1.6 billion for bus services throughout New South Wales, including regional and metropolitan bus services, school services and funding of new and replacement buses
6. $643 million ($3.2 billion over four years) to continue to deliver the More Trains, More Services Program designed to provide increased rail services, more resilient infrastructure and more frequent and additional services on the Illawarra, Airport and South Coast lines
7. $385 million over three years to 2021-22 to expand the Toll Relief program from 1 July 2019 to assist with the cost of living. In addition to the existing free registration when drivers spend $25 a week or more on tolls, eligibility will be extended so that drivers spending above $15 a week or more will receive 50 per cent off their motor vehicle registration for one vehicle
8. $373 million to improve road safety including a significant increase in investment through the Road Safety Plan 2021 targeting high risk areas with a regional focus
9. $57 million ($256 million over four years, taking the total commitment to over $600 million) towards new walking and cycling infrastructure projects across the state to make walking and cycling a more convenient, safer and enjoyable option that benefits everyone
10. $29 million ($131 million over four years) for over 14,000 extra weekly bus services from 2019-20 throughout Sydney, Illawarra and the Lower Hunter as well as an additional $68 million over four years to improve bus services across 15 regional towns
11. $25 million (as part of a $500 million total commitment) to kick off the Fixing Local Roads program to assist councils with repairing, maintaining and sealing local roads
12. $17.7 million ($69.6 million over four years) to reduce the Opal Weekly Travel cap by approximately 20 per cent to $50 per week for adults and $25 per week for child/youth and concession travel from 1 July 2019 for all train, bus, ferry and light rail customers. This will benefit approximately 55,000 commuters with savings up to $686 a year. All other Opal benefits already in place will remain
13. $2 million ($18.5 million over four years) to provide an additional 300 School Crossing Supervisors across NSW primary schools to help children get to and from school safely each day.
14. $93 million ($295 million over four years) initial investment in the fast rail network, including improved alignment north of Mittagong, duplication between Berry and Gerringong, planning of a new alignment between Sydney and Woy Woy, and planning work to improve the route to the Central West
15. $22 million ($90 million over three years) for the Regional Seniors Transport Card providing $250 per year in 2020 and 2021 towards fuel, taxi travel or NSW TrainLink tickets for aged pensioners living in regional New South Wales
16. $12 million ($99 million over four years, as part of an additional $695 million commitment) to further ease congestion through smart technology, including intelligent traffic light installations, planning for a smart motorway upgrade on the M1 Pacific Motorway between Gosford and Sydney, digital parking and clearway signage, virtual in-car and GPS messaging and new drones