Infrastructure Australia (IA) has approved the Morley to Ellenbrook train line after finding the METRONET project would provide $430 million in wider economic benefits throughout the community.
The Federal Government has committed $500 million to the 21 kilometre train line with construction to begin early 2021 and the project to be completed by 2023-24.
A train to Ellenbrook has been in state political discussion since 2008, leaving many residents like Adam Speed indifferent to the project’s announcement.
“It’s taken too long. Ever since moving to Ellenbrook seven years ago it’s all I’ve heard about,” he said.
For resident and high-school student Montannah Harris, a start to the train line is welcome news.
“It was really annoying having to use the public transport from Ellenbrook,” she said.
Once completed, the line is expected to halve the travel time between Ellenbrook and Perth CBD for public transport users who currently spend around an hour on a bus and train to get into the city.
While IA finds the project to have “good strategic merit”, the independent infrastructure advisor also finds the project to have a “marginal economic, social and environmental case” and suggests some of METRONET’s figures relating to the line’s predicted usage to be overstated.
The project will see five new stations built at Morley, Noranda, Malaga, Whiteman Park and Ellenbrook, with the potential for an extra station to be added at Bennett Springs in the future.
With the line to run through Tonkin Highway, construction on the Tonkin Gap project is being fast-tracked in preparation for the Morley to Ellenbrook line’s construction.
Two companies remain on the shortlist to design and build the line with the contract to be awarded later this year.
In a state government media statement, Transport Minister Rita Saffioti says METRONET projects will deliver thousands of jobs and will be a key part of our post-COVID economic recovery.