SYDNEY, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Planned to be finished early in 2019, the New South Wales (NSW) State government's light rail project in Sydney is now predicted to go on until at least May 2020, with major cost blow-outs and insufficient planning stifling the development.
But while the state government has already handed out 117 million Australian dollars (83.4 million U.S. dollars) to 115 business and landlords as part of an assistance package, in August 60 businesses along the construction route joined a class action lawsuit against the NSW transport department, seeking a further 400 million Australian dollars (285.1 million U.S. dollars) in damages due to the added delays.
Since then that number has now almost doubled to include 110 businesses.
"If you're going to unnecessarily damage people's lives and businesses then you've got to be brought to account," Lawyer Rick Mirty told AAP on Monday. "You can't just do these things with impunity," he said.
With the 1.6 billion Australian dollar (1.1 billion U.S. dollar) project skyrocketing to around 2.1 billion, the NSW department of Transport has also filed crossclaims against rail giant ALTRAC and its Spanish subcontractor Acciona.
Making matters even more complex for the courts, Acciona is itself seeking a further 1.2 billion Australian dollars (855 million U.S. dollars) from the NSW Government, claiming they are misled over some aspects of the project.
The NSW transport department has made no comment on the matter.