The federal government needs to start funding public transport, the industry lobby says as it releases a report showing the area around a new Sydney rail line has grown faster than the rest of the city.
The opening of the Epping to Chatswood line in 2009 helped spark a surge in activity in the Macquarie Park area, the report commissioned by the Tourism and Transport Forum says.
"This report shows for the first time the additional economic growth that public transport infrastructure delivers and means the debate over public transport funding is no longer ideological, it is economic," said Margy Osmond, the chief executive of the forum, which commissioned PricewaterhouseCoopers to study the opening of the Epping to Chatswood line.
Ms Osmond's report is being used by the transport industry to call on the federal government to change its policy on transport investment. Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said the federal government would not fund urban public transport, but would fund urban motorways and other big road projects.
The state government, which is committed to numerous rail projects in Sydney, has welcomed this stance for the clarity it provides.
But Ms Osmond said the federal government should reconsider its position, because of the economic stimulus public transport projects can trigger.
The analysis of the opening of the Epping to Chatswood line, which in 2009 was the first major rail line to open in Sydney for two decades, shows the area around the Macquarie Park station had an extra 1.56-2.44 per cent economic growth a year after opening, even amid the global financial crisis.
Jobs growth around the rail line also grew faster than the rest of the city.
"These findings align with other case studies in the report, such as the impact of the opening of the City Loop in Melbourne and the Docklands Light Rail in London," Ms Osmond said.
The NSW government has said it would close the Epping to Chatswood line for up to seven months to extend it to Rouse Hill and the north-west rail link.
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