A joint venture led by Italian industrial group Salini Impregilo has been selected to build and maintain Perth’s $2 billion Forrestfield Airport Rail Link.

The company was selected from a shortlist of three, edging out two other joint venture groups.

Transport Minister Dean Nalder said the selection of Salini Impreglio was a significant step forward for a project he described as “transformational” for Perth.

“We’re at the cutting edge, because for the first time we’re getting serious about taking public transport underground in Perth,” he said.

The project will include a section of underground rail line running from Bayswater to the airport and Forrestfield, linking Perth’s east with the city’s train network.

Mr Nalder said negotiations over the coming months would finalise the contract by May.

“We’re still on time and we expect site activity to be commencing shortly, but with construction underway by the end of this year,” he said.

Liberal Member for Forrestfield Nathan Morton welcomed the announcement.

“This, actually for once, makes public transport a viable alternative for the daily commute,” he said.

“A 20-minute train trip, a major bus interchange, not only does it make it viable, it takes cars off the road and eases congestion.”

The rail link is due to open in 2020.

Source: ABC News

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