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Urban rail news in brief - July 2015
Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
The Coalition Government has recognised the importance of the Pacific Highway, New England Highway, the F3 Branxton link and Hunter rail, by making them a key part of its visionary land transport plan, AusLink.
Member for Paterson, Bob Baldwin, said the Government announced AusLink, Australia's first national land transport plan since Federation.
Included in the announcement is that the Government has allocated $109 million to reduce congestion of freight and coal train movements by duplicating 63km of the track between Wallarobba and Stratford,
In a separate announcement from the Australian Rail Track Corporation (ARTC), there are plans for two 1500 metre crossing loops at Craven and Berrico in the Gloucester area are part of a major upgrade of track and signalling on the North Coast railway line.
Extending the length of these two and seven other passing loops will allow 1500 metre trains to operate between Melbourne and Brisbane.
Auslink sets out $11.8 billion in land transport funding – the equivalent of two Snowy Mountains Schemes.
"The Government has planned AusLink for more than two years. It is a visionary plan to build our national transport future," Mr Baldwin said.
"The enormous investment we are announcing today is only possible because of our strong economic management. We have repaid $70 billion of Labor's public sector debt, and can now provide Australians with lasting and permanent dividends rather than spending taxpayers' money on interest repayments.
"Everyone in our region will benefit from better land transport infrastructure. It will increase the safety of our roads, and benefit businesses, communities, the environment, exporters and farmers."
In NSW, the Federal Government will invest:
• $645 million for the Pacific Highway. It is the Government's objective to duplicate the Pacific Highway by 2016, in partnership with the NSW Government.
• $253 million towards building a new connector between the F3 and the New England Highway at Branxton
• $52 million for widening the F3 freeway
• $101 million for the New England Highway, including works at Weakley's Drive interchange, Devils Pinch realignment, Halcombe Hill safety works, commencement of Muswellbrook bypass and road widening.
• The Australian Government will spend $1.4 billion over the next 5 years on the Roads to Recovery programme - $70.8 million will be spent in NSW in 2004-05, as well as $136.7 million in untied local road grants for local councils
• NSW will receive $14.3 million in 2004-05 under the Black Spot Program, which provides funding to improve dangerous accident locations on Australia's roads
Through AusLink, the Federal Government will also be making a large investment in local rail networks. In NSW, Federal Government investment in rail includes:
• $152 million to upgrade 452km of track and signalling in the Hunter Valley rail network (see attached media release from Friday)
• $109 million to reduce congestion of freight and coal train movements by duplicating 63km of the track between Wallarobba and Stratford on the northern approach into Maitland
• improve signalling and passing opportunities between Newcastle and Brisbane ($119 million)
• $158 million for faster transit times and train speeds by building 14 deviations to ease curves on the North Coast railway between Newcastle and Brisbane.
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