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Cr Paul Antonio’s comments come after the Council of Mayors Southeast Queensland (COMSEQ) welcomed a commitment from both major parties and the Greens to support a fast rail network for the entire south-east corner.
The State Government is currently completing a business case into passenger rail between Toowoomba and Brisbane, thanks to $15 million from the Federal Government.
But Cr Antonio, who is COMSEQ’s deputy chair, said this didn’t equate necessarily to fast rail and said he held concerns about whether it would cater for the region’s future growth demands.
Both the LNP and the Greens have committed to a fast rail plan between Toowoomba and Brisbane to varying degrees.
“We’re very concerned the scope of the study does not include enough interaction with the communities it will go to serving,” Cr Antonio said.
“There are a few ways we can build a rail line and we want to bring everybody on board.”
Cr Antonio said he wanted a fast rail plan to not only service the city, but also complement the Inland Rail’s tunnel through the Toowoomba range and reach the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport and the planned entertainment precinct by Wagner Corporation.
“These are all important and critical for our future,” he said.
“We want something that is built into the plan to make sure the plan they come up with is appropriate for the area.
“Now is the time to get it right and protect us for the future.”
Wagner Corporation director Denis Wagner, whose company owns the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, said well-connected fast rail was essential for the future of the region.
“My view is it is absolutely essential that Toowoomba is included in this fast rail network,” he said.
“The infrastructure that will be built for Inland Rail should be built to accommodate fast rail as well.
“If you look at the positives of a fast rail network, we can connect four international airports across the region and you can connect communities like Toowoomba to Brisbane and have a travel time of 45 minutes.”
This article first appeared on www.thechronicle.com.au
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