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Light rail was on the agenda for Brisbane, but Premier Anna Bligh ruled out a return to trams on the city's streets.
Rather, the Premier today launched a vision for an underground light rail project linking Toowong, West End, the CBD, Newstead, Bowen Hills, Bulimba and Bowen Hills by 2030.
Queensland Rail was already midway through a $20 million feasibility study for an underground rail tunnel to replace the Merivale Rail Bridge at South Brisbane, which would allow extra trains to connect some new CBD underground stations by 2016.
But Ms Bligh said Brisbane's Rapid Metro, which would be the city's own version of the London Metro, was the next step in public transport infrastructure spending.
"What I am talking about today is beyond that cross river rail link - which is all heavy rail - and talking about an underground metro system like you see in some of the great cities in the world," she said.
"We need an entirely new metro system - just in the CBD - that will be run with a light rail transit system completely separate to the heavy rail system.
"This is a new way of thinking about Brisbane that takes us to 2030."
Part of Ms Bligh's rationale was that twice as many people will be trying to get into Brisbane's CBD in the next 25 years to work.
"Employment in the same area will double from 200,000 to 400,000 - double the number of people trying to get into the CBD just to get to work," she said.
In April last year, ARUP Global Rail director Colin Stewart told a Brisbane business forum that a "very frequent" underground light rail project was essential to tackle Brisbane's congestion.
Plans had previously been announced for an underground heavy rail loop, with an underground river crossing and additional stops in the CBD.
Ms Bligh said the preferred routes for the $8 billion heavy rail project would be released in the new year.
Earlier today Ms Bligh ruled out a return of trams to Brisbane's streets.
"There have been many discussions about a return of trams and light rail to our city streets," she said.
"But outside of our busways, which were designed to accommodate light rail if needed, the time for trams in the CBD is over.
"The future of rail planning for the centre of the city is underground."
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