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Inland rail a trifecta for Toowoomba region: mayor
Australian urban railways are running at capacity and the federal government needs to pour at least $10 billion into meeting public transport demand, an expert panel warns.
Speaking at the launch of Bus Expo 2008 in Melbourne, Professor Graham Currie, the chair of public transport at Melbourne's Monash University, said failure to fund public transport would damage the national economy.
"The railways are full - we need to solve the railway capacity problem," he told reporters.
"We need to act now to find a solution - it has an impact on our economy because mobility is going to start declining.
"It's a dire problem."
Prof Currie said business would slow down as cities became more gridlocked.
He said car-dependent disadvantaged families living on city fringes would fare the worst from a lack of public transport.
Prof Currie was one of several academics who spoke of the need for public transport investment at the Bus Expo opening.
The federal government said investing in public transport was on its agenda, but only where it was not the responsibility of the states.
"The Rudd Labor government has clearly put Commonwealth involvement in the delivery of public transport infrastructure back on the national agenda ... and we welcome suggestions from all sections of the community," a spokesman for federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese said in a statement.
The West Australian
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