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Brisbane's underground rail project has the support of the federal government, but the opposition wants more details on its cost before committing to the project in the lead-up to the 2010 election.
A spokesman for federal Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese said the government supported the $8.2 billion cross-river rail project.
"That is why we have put $20 million towards the completion of the feasibility study in last year's budget, to try to bring this project up to the next stage," the spokesman said.
Mr Albanese's spokesman said any further federal government funding depended on the outcomes of a feasibility study to be finished in mid-2011.
"One of the things that the feasibility study is looking at is to try to get a much more accurate costing figure," he said.
The spokesman said the project had been identified by Infrastructure Australia, a body set up by the ALP government to prioritise infrastructure projects.
Coalition infrastructure spokesman Barnaby Joyce said he supported the work being done to test projects which could cut congestion in cities.
"But we can't assess its full merits at this stage because the Labor Party refuses to release the cost-benefit analysis," he said.
The National Party senator questioned the direction of Labor's infrastructure spending and criticised money spent on the ceiling insulation scheme and what he described as "overpriced school halls".
“The question Queenslanders have to ask themselves is this: Did you want insulation and school halls or a cross-river rail project?" Senator Joyce said.
"We could have built the rail from these two programs alone, and still have billions left over.
“Now what I have to do as part of the shadow infrastructure portfolio is work out how do we find the money to build the vital infrastructure Australia clearly needs."
The project needs private finance and federal and state government support.
Queensland Transport Minister Rachel Nolan said the cross-river rail plan was a "tremendously exciting" project that was driven by necessity but would also transform parts of the city.
Ms Nolan said there would come a time at which the Merivale Street rail bridge - the only river crossing for trains near the CBD - would reach full capacity.
She said rail timetables would soon be overhauled in a bid to increase capacity by adopting different stopping patterns.
"Cross-river rail is, however, the long-term solution to that capacity constraint and that's why this government is doing so much work right now in partnership with the federal government to develop the cross-river rail project," she said.
Ms Nolan said it would be the state's biggest ever infrastructure project and would only become a reality with federal government funding and private investment.
A final plan and a business case should be finalised early next year to allow a funding decision to be made, she said.
"The work around cross-river rail is happening right now," she said.
"It is happening at a very detailed level."
State opposition transport spokeswoman Fiona Simpson, who was questioning Ms Nolan at a budget estimates hearing in parliament yesterday, suggested the rail network could reach capacity before the project was completed.
Ms Simpson said the state government first announced a feasibility study for the project in 2005 but the process was still ongoing.
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