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Despite piles of reports, oodles of analysis and a substantial application of common sense, the federal government is proceeding at a glacial pace with plans for fast rail at scale.
This week, another inquiry was launched, this one by the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Infrastructure, Transport and Cities.
It is an inquiry into options for financing fast rail. The terms of reference are succinct: inquire into options for financing faster rail.
It is being chaired by former tennis professional and Liberal member for Bennelong, John Alexander. In a media statement, he said “fast rail connections between our capital cities and regional centres will strengthen economic and social ties and connect people to housing, jobs, and services”.
So far, the government has only firmly committed to one project, a Geelong-to-Melbourne link, but has shortlisted several other corridors in the Faster Rail Plan produced earlier this year:
It’s worth noting these corridors still leave Canberra woefully unconnected to the south – currently the national capital’s only southward link is a slow bus west to Yass to connect with the main Sydney to Melbourne line. Can’t help but wonder – is Canberra the world’s worst-connected national capital?
The corridors also leave large parts of New South Wales, including its largest inland city, Wagga Wagga, out of the picture.
The government has spruiked the benefits of the corridors for enabling people to benefit from regional community lifestyles and housing affordability.
This article first appeared on www.thefifthestate.com.au
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