According to several media reports the NSW Government are considering a relatively low cost ($100M) plan to extend the existing light rail line in Sydney's inner west.
The Sydney Morning Hearld goes further, reporting that "
Light rail extension could run within a year" (Andrew West, SMH, May 25, 2009), and this would go to cabinet today.
The plan is low cost and low risk, as it would extend an existing tram service along an existing disused goods rail line. This appears cheap and easy when compared with the proposed Sydney CBD to Rozelle metro which requires tunnels and the resumption of private businesses for stations and would cost $5.3B if it was built.
It was not clear why the NSW government previously opposed the low cost, low risk scheme, in favour of high cost high risk metros (which it keeps cancelling). One suggestion in the SMH is that the director-general of the Ministry of Transport, Jim Glasson, was opposed to light rail. It is also suggested that the government needed to do something to support the Education Minister, Verity Firth in her electorate for the 2011 election.
According to the SMH, the Transport Minister, David Campbell, had an epiphany when travelling by tram on holiday in holiday in Paris and Nice.
One problem which remains for hr tram is the lack of an integrated ticketing system in Sydney. Like Melbourne, Sydney has had problems with a smart card based system. Like Melbourne the problems are due to an overly complex ticket system and the failure by the government to adopt a simplified system, as used in Istanbul.