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LIGHT rail will connect to heavy rail at Parkwood and Robina and extend north to The Spit, east to Bundall and south to Coolangatta under a proposed council transport strategy.
The multibillion-dollar, 20-year plan drafted in consultation with the State Government would see a major overhaul of the current transport plan which is now 14 years old.
Transport Strategy 2031 reveals a "ladder" system, with heavy rail connecting with light rail at Parkwood and at Robina, and a rapid bus system linking east and west routes.
It is estimated that by 2031, 800,000 people will live on the Gold Coast, while congestion costs in Australian capital cities will reach $20 billion by 2020.
Only 3.1 per cent of the city's population uses public transport daily, a target well shy of the 7 per cent the city was meant to hit last year.
This plan reveals targets of 12 per cent of the population on public transport each day by 2031, 8 per cent of people walking daily and 6 per cent cycling.
While the report is stretched over 20 years, the most immediate part of the plan is to see the light rail extended to Parkwood via Smith Street and another station added to the heavy rail line by 2018, before the Commonwealth Games.
The Parkwood heavy and light rail stations would also have a park-and-ride facility for workers heading east or to Brisbane.
It is understood GoldLinQ is already looking for investors to fund further stages of the line's expansion.
Council planning chairman Cameron Caldwell said this model would help encourage people out of cars and on to a more streamlined public transport system.
"We want to create a more liveable city and at the heart of good liveable cities are proper public transport plans," Cr Caldwell said.
"We are trying to encourage behaviour changes so more people think to use their cars less often.
"We have linked these plans into some of the city's proposed major projects, like the arts district, casinos and cultural precincts and cruise ship terminals," he said.
He said the decision to extend the light rail to the airport was made based on population and density along the coastal strip.
There are long-term plans for it to connect with heavy rail but it would need the support of the NSW Government, he said.
The plan also includes major upgrades to footpaths and cycle ways, initiatives to encourage children to walk or take public transport to school, building green bridges from Chevron Island to Bundall, Chevron Island to Surfers Paradise and one from Benowa to Carrara.
This article first appeared on www.goldcoast.com.au
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