Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) Government has announced plans to allocate an initial funding of A$3bn ($2.2bn) for the Sydney-Parramatta Metro West project.

The funding will allow Sydney Metro to design new metro railway stations and precincts.

Sydney Metro will also be able to start planning the approvals process, as well as continue the ongoing community and industry consultation on the project.

New South Wales Premier Gladys Berejiklian said: “Sydney Metro West will be our city’s next big underground metro railway – a new, easy link between Sydney CBD and Parramatta – and we’re getting on with the job as quickly as possible.”

The government is set to invest an additional A$28m ($18m) in the NSW Budget 2018 to speed up the completion of the final business case of the Sydney-Parramatta Metro West project.

“We have already begun the work to determine the best underground route between the Sydney CBD and Greater Parramatta with a programme of geotechnical drilling, which will continue.”

Minister for Transport and Infrastructure Andrew Constance said: “This project will redefine how we get around Sydney and will double rail capacity between the two city centres, a true city-shaping infrastructure investment that will serve generations to come.

“We have already begun the work to determine the best underground route between the Sydney CBD and Greater Parramatta with a programme of geotechnical drilling, which will continue.”

About 1,200 people provided feedback in the latest round of community consultation on the project, with new consultations scheduled for later this year.

The first part of the Sydney Metro is scheduled to open in the first half of next year, connecting Rouse Hill with Chatswood.

Construction is currently underway to extend the Metro into the Sydney CBD and to Bankstown, which is expected to open in 2024.

Once completed, Sydney will feature 31 metro stations and a new 66km metro railway system.