February 26, 2020
Today, Infrastructure Australia (IA) released their 2020 Infrastructure Priority List. It is a well-researched list and gives us an opportunity to reflect on how Sydney is delivering on infrastructure and where we go from here.
NSW is in the midst of a $90bn infrastructure spend, with the majority allocated to transport projects. It is an extraordinary effort, such that Sydney is in the middle of one of the biggest infrastructure booms in the OECD. The investment being made is the envy of cities all over the world.
However, the IA list is a reminder that we are nowhere near finished. In spite of everything that’s been accomplished, it is essential for the long-term viability of Sydney that we find a way to keep infrastructure momentum going.
Benefits of smart mobility investments
If we are smart about it and we pick the right projects, transport infrastructure does a number of things:
Priorities for investment
Our top-priority projects, which are ready for immediate investment, include:
The next set of projects should include:
The next rounds of investment will get tougher in some ways, because the community may get tired of the disruption and because some of the obvious funding sources have been used. Budgetary pressure is also being felt at a state and federal level. Moreover, just because a project “stacks up” in a business case doesn’t mean it’s a good project. We need to use good judgement about the way we want the city to evolve over time.
For the Committee for Sydney, this means increasing the mode share of public, shared and active transport. There is no escaping the reality that we must change how people travel across our city if we want to achieve a 30-minute city while growing our population towards 8 million. This means evolving our current model in a number of ways:
Prioritise public transport expansion.We cannot shift mode share without also shifting what type of transport options we build.
The IA list showcases some potentially ground-breaking investments for Sydney. The impetus now must be to deliver these projects and many more beyond.