Instead, then-opposition leader Chris Minns said Labor would not proceed with business cases to connect the Metro West from Parramatta to the new airport line, or the troubled Southwest Metro, until it better understood the cost of both projects following a series of delays and blowouts.
While then-premier Dominic Perrottet attacked Minns over a “lack of vision” for cancelling the projects, Labor criticised the former government for failing to identify how it would pay for the new Metro lines amid a rancorous debate over the state’s ballooning debt.
“The decisions that we’ve made in relation to early planning stage money for the Metros in Sydney are about making sure we can look at the loop, that Metro loop for Sydney,” he said in February.
Minns repeatedly accused the former government of promising $50 billion worth of unfunded liabilities, including Metro lines from Parramatta to Badgerys Creek and Bankstown to Glenfield.
The former government repeatedly refused to confirm a projected dollar figure for Metro West, despite concerns the cost of land acquisitions along Sydney’s east-west spine and the CBD would run into billions of dollars.
When the Herald first revealed a major cost blowout in February 2021, then-transport minister Andrew Constance said he would not comment on “an internal working document of the Department which does not reflect a final decision”.
At the time, confidential documents seen by the Herald suggested the cost of building the underground line would be significantly greater per kilometre than the City and Southwest project, and the Northwest rail line from Rouse Hill to Chatswood which opened in 2019.
– with Matt O’Sullivan
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