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The Queensland Budget will invest a record of $23 billion investment in roads and transport infrastructure over the next four years.
Queensland Transport and Main Roads Minister, Mark Bailey, said the Queensland Transport and Roads Investment Program (QTRIP) 2019-20 to 2022-23 would continue the Palaszczuk Government’s focus on job-creating infrastructure investments, particularly in regional Queensland.
“Regional Queensland is the big winner in this infrastructure budget because Queensland’s regional towns and cities are the engine room of our state’s economy.
“More than $14.5 billion of this record QTRIP will be spent outside the Brisbane City, Ipswich City and Redland City local government areas.
“Our investment will make the Bruce Highway safer and more flood-resilient between Brisbane and Cairns.
“We will continue to seal the Peninsula Development Road, supporting Indigenous employment.
“Improvements on the Warrego Highway west of Toowoomba will continue, and we will work with the Federal Government to plan and deliver improvements east of Toowoomba.”
Mr Bailey said this year’s budget will also pour funding into congestion-busting projects so that people spend less time in the car and more time with their families and friends.
“We will continue upgrading the Ipswich Motorway, and progressing construction of the Sumners Road Interchange on the Centenary Highway.
“We’ll keep building a better M1 from Brisbane to the border – with major projects between Eight Mile Plains and Daisy Hill and Varsity Lakes and Tugun ready to roll as soon as the current two M1 upgrades finish next year.
“We have also committed funding to upgrade three M1 interchanges that serve growing North Gold Coast communities – Exits 41, 49 and 57.
“We’re focusing dollars on where they will make a difference and ring road projects in Townsville, Rockhampton, Mackay and Cairns will benefit those cities by taking traffic, particularly trucks, off local roads.”
Minister Bailey said the budget put road safety high on the agenda, investing more than $900 million in targeted upgrades to ensure roads are safer.
Full steam ahead for rail projects
Billions of dollars have been allocated for rail and passenger transport infrastructure, including $160.8 million from the Queensland Government for the North Coast Line.
“Funding is in this budget to upgrade the North Coast Line, and we will deliver station upgrades and other network improvements while Cross River Rail is being delivered,” Mr Bailey said.
“A centrepiece of that work will be the $250 million high-capacity underground interchange for the Inner Northern Busway to the Cross River Rail Project, a once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape the Roma Street Station precinct.
“We will also be investing in bus stops and train stations, including continuing our commitment to expanding park ‘n’ rides, make train stations more accessible to people with disabilities and upgrades on key commuter roads in Brisbane to create priority bus lanes.
“We will continue to deliver the $4.15 billion New Generation Rollingstock project.
“All 75 six car sets are expected to be available for service in the 2019-20 financial year, and Maryborough rail workers will start work in the coming months to ensure the new trains comply with national disability standards.”
Regional focus for transport and road investment
Communities across the state will benefit from a local investment focus, with council-controlled regional transport and road networks supported with $280 million over four years under the Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme (TIDS).
More than $100 million has been allocation for boat ramps, pontoons, jetties, floating walkways and dredging over the next four years.
The State Government’s focus on bike-riding investment will continue to support its goal to see more people riding more often with $42.7 million construction of the Veloway 1 Stage E project in Tarragindi, $17.2 million for the North Brisbane Bikeway (stage 2, 3 and 4) and 50/50 grants funding to support dozens of council-led cycling infrastructure projects.
Mr Bailey said the record QTRIP would support more than 21,500 Queensland jobs.
“From M1 upgrades on the Gold Coast to the Smithfield Bypass north of Cairns, and from the Rockhampton Northern Access Upgrade to the sealing being done on Cape York, people are turning up to work on-site today because the Palaszczuk Government backed these projects.
“This year’s QTRIP outlines the future projects we believe need to be prioritised for Queenslanders.
“The Palaszczuk Government will continue to work with the Federal Government, local governments and the private sector to ensure this pipeline of investment continues to support Queensland communities and create local jobs.”
Major roads projects (including investments jointly-funded with the Australian Government) included in the budget are:
Rail projects include:
Public transport infrastructure projects include:
Bike-riding infrastructure projects include:
Maritime projects include:
The Budget has been met with mixed opinions from the industry, with Infrastructure Partnerships Australia Chief Executive, Adrian Dwyer, stating it is built on shaky foundations.
“Treasurer Trad has delivered a welcome boost to infrastructure funding in this budget, but Queensland’s investment program is built on shaky fiscal foundations.
“Infrastructure funding underpinned by volatile mining royalties and increased debt is not a long-term recipe for success.
“If the Queensland Government wants to sustain high levels of infrastructure spending while keeping debt in check, they will have to come back to the table on reform and asset recycling.
“Without additional capital from asset recycling and wider reform, the Queensland Government will remain fiscally constrained in the face of a rapidly growing population.”
This article first appeared on infrastructuremagazine.com.au
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