A 45-minute Wollongong-Sydney rail trip is a step closer to millions of dollars in federal government funding.
In September the government called for proposals under the Faster Rail prospectus, which has $20 million in funding to disperse.
Eleven submissions have moved to stage two, where a detailed project proposal is required.
One of these is the Sydney FastRail plan, which looks to use higher-speed rail to link Sydney with Wollongong, Newcastle and Canberra.
The proposal suggests a 45-minute Wollongong-Sydney and Newcastle-Sydney trip as well as a one-hour run between the state capital and Canberra.
The group’s website stated that “increasing access by fast connectivity to these key regional areas” would relieve housing pressure in Sydney, allow for less centralised employment and encourage businesses to relocate to these areas.
A project from the Centurion Group, which has benefits for the Illawarra, also moved to the second phase.
Their proposal plans to link Campbelltown to the Illawarra, with a likely first stage being Campelltown to Picton.
Illawarra Business Chamber CEO Chris Lamont was pleased to see both projects move into the second stage.
Mr Lamont said links to Sydney – especially western Sydney – would greatly benefit the region.
“Improved rail connectivity between the Illawarra and surrounding areas and Sydney would leverage the full potential of the region and key strategic assets including Port Kembla, western Sydney and the soon to be constructed Badgerys Creek airport,” Mr Lamont said.
The eleven groups moving to stage two must submit detailed project proposals by December 8.