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Opposition Leader Tony Abbott could have 'all but guaranteed' a win in Brisbane on Sunday if he'd backed the city's proposed cross-river rail plan, argues a lobby group, but he missed the chance.
"There were lots of R words - Rudd and Roads, but no Rail" said a disappointed Rail Back On Track's Robert Dow.
"We really do need ongoing investment from all levels of Government for urban rail. At the moment we are seeing projects advanced in Perth, Adelaide and regional Victoria (but) Cross River Rail is the number-one priority according to Infrastructure Australia.
"At this stage there's no real progress being made toward getting funding. It's a very necessary project - without it, we are just going to grind to a halt."
"The bus system is approaching capacity, as is the road system," Mr Dow said, adding "Unless we get some extra capacity therough the centre of the rail network we are really going to struggle."
While Mr Abbott made a number of references to infrastructure in his party launch on Sunday, saying he wanted to see 'bulldozers on the ground', it was obvious that his main focus was on roads, rather than other forms of transport.
Mr Dow says that was not a real surprise, but his group was given some hope by Mr Abbott's slightly modified recent statements.
"A week or so ago, Mr Abbott made a comment which was a little different - he said 'We generally don't fund urban rail', instead of his more usual 'We won't be funding'," Mr Dow said."That's slightly different to his normal rhetoric, so while it was always a long shot, we did have some hopes.
"If a deal was done, we think it would make the election absolutely guaranteed in terms of Queensland. We thought it might have been a trump card he could play," he said.
Mr Dow says without funding commitments, rail in Brisbane is really going to struggle.
This article first appeared on www.brisbanetimes.com.au
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