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Urban rail news in brief - July 2015
Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
Toowoomba Regional Council mayor Paul Antonio welcomed the funding of the next stage of the long-awaited inland rail project between Melbourne and Brisbane.
The budget allocated $594 million to cover land acquisition in preparation for a 1,700-kilometre inland freight route.
A report by the former deputy prime minister and leader of the National Party John Anderson recommended the project and estimated the cost to be $10 billion.
The project has been touted as transforming the Toowoomba region into a transport hub with an increased export capability for the state's produce.
Mr Antonio said the Federal Government commitment was an essential step in the process.
"I think it is the beginning of a process that will make the primary producers of eastern Australia, and particularly here and further to the west, far more competitive," he said.
The Queensland Resources Council said funding for the inland rail project was a positive but should be open to private investment in a competitive tendering process.
Mr Antonio agreed that competitive tendering should be considered down the track, once the alignment of the rail line was completed.
"I think the government needs to do the next part of the process, but then there could be an opportunity, with the world awash with capital and expertise around building rail, to take this to the private sector," he said.
"Ask for expressions of interest to design, construct, to finance and to operate the line, I am sure that doing a similar process to what was done with the bypass here in Toowoomba, there could be an outstanding outcome."
This article first appeared on www.abc.net.au
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