F6 extension or rail upgrades – why not both?

The NRMA's Peter Colacino believes the Illawarra deserves both the F6 extension as well as improvements to the South Coast rail line. Picture: Georgi Matts

The NRMA's Peter Colacino believes the Illawarra deserves both the F6 extension as well as improvements to the South Coast rail line. Picture: Georgi Matts

Wollongong shouldn't have to decide between an F6 extension or  improvements to the rail line – it should get both.

That’s the view of motoring body NRMA, which has in the past campaigned for improvements to the state's rail network.

The NRMA has staged a long-running campaign to see the F6 extension – also known as SouthConnex – come to fruition.

But the body’s executive general manager of corporate affairs Peter Colacino said that work shouldn’t come at the expense of rail improvements.

“It’s not an either/or between rail and road,” Mr Colacino said.

“The third largest city in NSW deserves both.

“Improvements to transport connections between the Illawarra and Sydney should be a central plank in a strategy to provide access to affordable housing within reach of jobs in Sydney.”

He said the government’s new intercity fleet – due to enter service in two years’ time – with in-seat phone chargers and cup holders – was an “important first step”.

“However the government needs to look at options to improve speeds for express services to cut journey times and get people home to their families sooner,” Mr Colacino said.

While the vast majority of Illawarra commuters drive to work rather than catch a train, Mr Colacino said there was no chance of seeing a shift to public transport without investing in better rail services.

However, he said there would always be a need for the F6 extension as a train was not “a practical replacement for some journeys”.

It’s not an either/or between rail and road. - Peter Colacino from the NRMA on the proposed f6 extension

“An investment in rail should not condemn those forced to drive to delays and congestion and should not lock trucks into rat runs on local streets,” Mr Colacino said.

While the vast majority of Illawarra commuters drive to work rather than catch a train, Mr Colacino said there was no chance of seeing a shift to public transport without investing in better rail services.

However, he said there would always be a need for the F6 extension as a train was not “a practical replacement for some journeys”.

“An investment in rail should not condemn those forced to drive to delays and congestion and should not lock trucks into rat runs on local streets,” Mr Colacino said.

A Transport for NSW spokesman said it was developing its Future Transport Strategy.

“We are looking beyond the projects in the pipeline in order to tackle the big challenges like congestion, our growing population and climate change,” he said.

“While no decisions have been made at this time, we will consider proposals being put forward as part of our Future Transport Strategy.”

The spokesman did not respond to questions about what measures it was taking to reduce rail travel times or if the F6 extension would rule out large rail upgrades.

The story F6 extension or rail upgrades – why not both? first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.

Smartphone
Tablet - Narrow
Tablet - Wide
Desktop