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Canberra Airport managing director Stephen Byron believes the latest report on high speed rail, which sets a much quicker timeframe of 17 years for the Sydney-Canberra leg - sets a new benchmark for the transport agenda.
The Federal Government's High Speed Rail Advisory Group recommends building a $23 billion link from Sydney to Canberra first, to create enough momentum for the overall project, worth an estimated $114 billion.
The latest report says locating a station in Civic, rather than the airport, would deliver $2 billion to $3 billion more in benefits, but Mr Byron says any decision on station locations is premature.
"The next step beyond land acquisition will be to run a tender with private sector and in so doing get the major high speed train operators involved.
" I think I would leave it to them to decide whether the station is in Civic or the airport," he said.
It made sense to keep open both options
"In 17 years time we will be a globally-connected airport to Singapore, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur and also China.
"And international experience will tell you operators of high speed trains like integrating the product with airports because it drives greater demand.
"There will be such a big boost to Canberra having high speed rail, it doesn't matter either way. I think the benefits of that to the regional economy and indeed to our own business will be larger than a negative."
This article first appeared on www.canberratimes.com.au
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