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TOWNSVILLE councillor Paul Jacob wants the State Government to conduct a feasibility study into starting passenger rail services in the city.
Cr Jacob raised the issue last month, calling for a trial, after complaints from the public about congestion on roads leading into and out of the city during peak hour.
At the same time, Labor Member for Townsville Scott Stewart revealed he had suggested to a government committee in 2018 that rail services could be operated into the CBD for events at the new stadium next year.
But Transport Minister Mark Bailey responded that rail was not under consideration.
Mr Bailey said establishing a rail service would require years of planning because of national rail regulations, the need for extensive consultation, large scale investment and agreement by all levels of government, as well as stringent public safety provisions.
Cr Jacob said had received “a lot of support” from people after raising the issue, had sought to contact Mr Bailey and now wanted a meeting “face-to-face”.
“I did send an email to the Minister and I got a reply from his office … to say that it has not been ruled out at this point in time,” Cr Jacob said.
“I would like to push the Government to give me a meeting with the Minister as a Townsville councillor to outline a feasibility study face-to-face.”
Cr Jacob said he wanted the Government to fund a feasibility study into the cost of introducing rail services.
He said existing track could be used but that some stations and car parks would have to be built.
“The State Government need to fund that feasibility study to look at rail in Townsville in the future,” Cr Jacob said.
“This has to be looked at. For all major cities in Australia rail has been the answer.
“I still believe that rail or light rail is the answer for Townsville.
“We have to give people hope in Townsville that they are going to look at that for the future because I believe that’s going to be one of the crucial things for when we do expand into a very large city in north Queensland.”
This article first appeared on www.townsvillebulletin.com.au
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