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AN EXTRA 116 train services during morning peak periods will be needed within a decade to meet booming demand, according to the latest Cross River Rail business case.
Building Queensland has predicted 83 per cent of southeast Queensland’s population growth will occur outside of Brisbane over the next 20 years, but 45 per cent of the jobs will be in Brisbane.
The imbalance will create a mass convergence into inner-city areas that cannot be met by the current railway network and spawn crippling congestion, according to the State Government’s infrastructure experts.
The business case estimates that an additional 52,500 passengers will seek rail services by 2026 during the two-hour morning peak, enough to fill 116 six-car trains.
“This demand, if not carried by rail, will be forced to other parts of the transport network, primarily the already constrained road networks with associated congestion and lost economic opportunities,” it states.
The new public business case was ordered after the Palaszczuk Government was criticised for not releasing a previous version last year.
It will inflame political tensions over the $5.4 billion project which Labor has promised to fully fund while the Liberal National Party has questioned the current construction timetable.
An artist’s impression of Albert Street station.Cross River Rail, which includes four new underground stations, would double the system’s capacity, alleviating the Merivale Bridge choke point.
The predicted explosion in passenger demand is based on year-on-year patronage growth of 6.9 per cent until 2026, a forecast that was rejected by Infrastructure Australia.
The 2011 Cross River Rail business case forecast a similar patronage explosion however it never materialised after fares skyrocketed, the economy slumped and road tunnels were constructed.
Infrastructure Minister Jackie Trad insisted the latest analysis on the project was a “compelling case for action”.
Infrastructure Association of Queensland chief Steve Abson urged the Government to reconsider levies and charges on landholders that benefit from Cross River Rail.
“Because the project includes significant urban renewal and opportunity for major development at station precincts, value capture might create up to 10 per cent of the funds needed for it,” he said.
However, Property Council Queensland executive director Chris Mountford opposed the use of value capture.
“A poorly designed ‘value-capture’ framework could end up as a tax on growth and undo the economic good that the project supposed to bring to the city,” he said.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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