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Sourcing critical railway upgrade funding needs cool heads and smart solutions
Rail Back On Track administer Rober Dow has called for M1 funding to be scrapped and instead directed toward railway infrasturture.
In an unwelcome twist in the M1 debate, Mr Dow said because the Federal and State Governments “cannot seem to agree on how much each should put into the funding pool’’ then any upgrade should be placed on hold.
“We think that money would be better invested in rail projects,’’ Mr Dow said.
“Why are the Queensland and Australian Governments wanting to pour yet even more money into the motorway when they cannot even find two cents to rub together for Cross River Rail, the state’s so-called highest priority project.’’
He said a modern, regional rapid rail service would “blow the Pacific Motorway out of the water’’.
“Trains can carry around 10 times the people that a motorway lane can. Cars are legally limited to 100-110 km/hr on motorways, whereas trains can travel at twice or three times this speed.'’ Mr Dow said.
“If the Government was actually serious about solving congestion issues to the Gold Coast, a motorway upgrade would be the last thing one would choose. It will never offer the speed or the capacity that a regional rapid rail service would offer.
“We need cross river rail to allow more people to work in Brisbane.
“However, separating the Gold Coast Line from the Beenleigh line would allow 160km/hr or faster trains to be used on the Gold Coast line, slashing travel times.
“Realigning the Gold Coast line to run along the M1, similar to how Perth runs trains along freeways, could slash about half an hour off a trip to the Gold Coast.
“There are more than enough lanes on the Pacific Motorway. If you value speed and capacity, you can’t beat a regional rapid rail train.’’
The M1 debate was an election bun fight with first the federal ALP and then the federal LNP weighing into funding commitments.
The ALP Federal Government reached an 80-20 split with the State Government to fund a small section southbound from the Eight Mile Plains merge.
The LNP’s election upgrade was more substantial, incorporating improvements from Eight Mile Plains to Springwood and also around Reedy Creek on the Gold Coast. But the LNP Federal and ALP State Governments cannot come to a funding split agreement, with Federal Government demanding a 50-50 split.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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