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KEVIN Rudd will reach out to commuters with a warning that Brisbane's Cross River Rail will not be built and another $6 billion in federal road funding for Queensland could be shelved if he loses the election.
In a bid to win over electorates in his home town, Mr Rudd will use his first full day after the writs were issued for the September 7 election to campaign on rail and road funding.
The Prime Minister will try to capitalise on new doubts about the future of Brisbane's Cross River Rail after Queensland Transport Minister Scott Emerson asked his federal counterpart Anthony Albanese to redirect $100 million set aside for the rail line to other projects in the state.
The two governments have been at war over the funding break-down for the $5.2 billion rail project, which Labor wants to use as a point of difference with Tony Abbott because the Coalition will not fund urban rail projects.
Labor says it has accepted Mr Emerson's demands to split the cost, but the state says it would end up paying 75 per cent under Labor's plan because half the federal contribution would come from GST funds already earmarked for the state.
In a letter to Mr Albanese on June 21, Mr Emerson said: "Until this issue is resolved, I ask that the $100 million of savings that was previously agreed to be set aside for this project be quarantined for redirection to other priority projects within Queensland."
Mr Emerson also raised questions about jointly funded road projects - the Gateway Upgrade North, Ipswich Motorway, Rocklea to Darra and Warrego Highway Upgrade - unless the federal government guaranteed 80 per cent of the cost.
"I cannot agree to the terms and conditions of funding for these commitments," Mr Emerson said in the letter.
Federal Labor has warned Mr Emerson's complaints mean the State Government is planning to walk away from the Cross River Rail and could defer billions of dollars of other upgrades.
Mr Albanese said the State Government was "putting politics ahead of the interests of Queenslanders".
Mr Emerson hit back, saying Mr Rudd had refused to fund a clear half of the rail project and said even state Labor leader Annastacia Palaszczuk called in 2011 for a 75 per cent federal contribution.
"Mr Rudd talks about being a Queenslander but he is short-changing Queensland," Mr Emerson said.
The escalating funding brawl comes after Mr Rudd lashed out at the State Government for failing to sign up to his national school funding plan despite a last-minute flurry of negotiations before the Government entered its caretaker period.
Mr Rudd used his last formal day in government to go on a $700 million spending spree on out-of-hours school care and handouts for the car industry.
This article first appeared on www.couriermail.com.au
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