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A FEDERAL Government commitment to spend $8 million on investigating a fast rail link between Sydney and the Central West has been welcomed by Bathurst MP Paul Toole - but with some caution.
Member for Calare Andrew Gee announced on Friday that money would be provided to fund a business case for faster rail between Sydney and Parkes via Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange.
He said the detailed assessments would determine the next priorities for funding and construction.
"I'm very excited that the Australian Government is providing $8 million to fund a business case for faster rail between Sydney and Parkes via Lithgow, Bathurst and Orange," Mr Gee said in a statement.
"This initiative is all about easing congestion in the big cities while at the same time encouraging growth in regional Australia.
"If we want to keep encouraging decentralisation and if we want to keep reducing the tyranny of distance between the city and the bush, fast rail is a great way to do it."
But while Mr Toole welcomed the funding to build a business case for fast rail, he indicated it would mean little if the federal government had no intention helping to pay to make it a reality.
"We should always be looking at fast rail and while it's only a study at this stage, let's hope if it comes back positive then the feds kick in some money as well," he said.
Mr Gee said the federal government's 20-year fast rail plan would invest $40 million for detailed assessments of five additional corridors, complementing the three presently underway that the federal government has funded, and others that state governments are funding.
These detailed assessments will determine the next priorities for funding and construction.
The Australian Government will create a National Fast Rail Agency to guide the work, determine priorities based on the assessments, work with state governments and communities and the private sector and provide innovative finance solutions.
This article first appeared on www.westernadvocate.com.au
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