The Baird Government is squandering more than $1 billion on the CBD portion of the light rail when the money could be better spent on getting the light rail for Western Sydney off the ground.

The cost of the entire CBD and South East Light Rail project has blown out from $1.6 billion in 2012 to $2.1 billion today, with the 2.4 kilometre CBD portion accounting for more than half of the cost, according to figures based on the Government’s own calculations.

The NSW Opposition has called on the Baird Government to release a full breakdown of costs, and the future liabilities and obligations to contractors, most recently writing to the Auditor General for a copy of the audited contract summary.

Meanwhile as the diggers start work on tearing up George Street, the Parramatta Light Rail project has stalled. The Baird Government has yet to choose any of the four Parramatta Light Rail options that were shortlisted, much less begin work on them.

At between $400,000 and $600,000 a metre for the 2.4 kilometre stretch, the George Street light rail is a contender for the most expensive above ground transport network in Australia.

Quotes attributable to NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley

“The Government is spending north of $1 billion on what is a vanity project. That money could be better spent getting Western Sydney moving with light rail.”

“Light rail must be in the right place from the beginning. This is the right mode of transport in entirely the wrong location.”

“The Government won’t come clean and disclose the reasons for the cost blow out because it is too embarrassed to say.”

“People have every right to know how much they’ll be paying for Premier Baird’s pet project, knowing that money could be put to better use elsewhere.”