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Urban rail news in brief - July 2015
Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
WAGGA and Albury have been included in plans for a multibillion-dollar high-speed rail connecting Brisbane and Melbourne.
After speculation Wagga could miss out on the ambitious plan, reports released by the federal government yesterday outlined phase one plans for linking the eastern seaboard.
But despite the benefits that could come with being one of the stops along the route, scepticism remains in the Wagga business fraternity over the future of the project. Wagga Business Chamber president Julian McLaren yesterday said he was dubious of the scheme and labelled it a "Greens pipe dream".
"As a business person we have to operate our country like a business," he said.
"I'm not overly excited because I'm not confident it will get past the planning stage."
However, both Mr McLaren and chamber manager Larry Buete said if it does go ahead Wagga should be in the mix.
"Whether you agree with it or not that's fine, we should be a part of it because we're the largest inland city in NSW," Mr Buete said.
Wagga mayor Wayne Geale welcomed the news that Wagga was named as a stop on the network, simply saying "so we should be". He said the benefits of the plan would include increased tourism opportunities for the area as foreign travellers were familiar with long-distance train travel.
Councillor Geale said it was also important for Wagga's continued growth to keep its name known. "If you want to maintain your name as a good central city then you need to have good transport."
The release of the phase one report will be followed by a further report next year.
The federal government said a more detailed analysis,which would include analysis of financial viability, will be carried out in phase two. The second phase is expected to be completed around mid-2012.
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