Metro is the future of Brisbane's transport network
If an underground metro rail network is to be a part of Brisbane’s future, then “the time to talk about it is now”, according to Queensland Premier Anna Bligh.
Speaking at Queensland’s leadership conference in Brisbane on November 19th, Bligh said it was essential plans were fast-tracked to rethink Brisbane’s transport network as Queensland geared up for a doubling of its population over the next 50 years.
To be built over the next two decades, the underground metro would be made to international standards, similar to the London tube and Paris Metro, Bligh said.
With the population in the five kilometre area surrounding Brisbane’s CBD to grow by 50 per cent and the number of workers entering the city set to double over the next 25 years, Bligh said it’s “almost impossible” to build more road capacity into the CBD.
Stating that the time for trams in the CBD is over, Bligh said the future of rail planning for the city’s centre is underground.
“That’s why along with plans to boost heavy rail capacity, we also need to start planning for an underground metro system, linking Toowong, West End, the city, Newstead, Bowen Hills, Bulimba and Hamilton North Shore,” she said.
“By 2030, the south-east’s population will hit almost 4.5 million. That’s bigger than Copenhagen, Montreal, Munich and Singapore – they all have metros.
“And, if we want the first metro train to leave the station by 2030, we have to begin work on a business case and fund that in the next budget period which includes forward estimates to 2015.”
The critical short term step in the Government’s new public transport plan was delivering the first, $8 billion stage of Brisbane's Cross Cross River Rail, infrastructure that Bligh said will unlock suburban heavy rail expansion.
“Every day there are 920,00o trips to the inner city – in 20 years, that will spike to more than two million trips a day and if you consider that today 80 per cent of all travel is by car, these are figures we cannot ignore,” she said.
“Every single train from Brisbane's south must cross the Merivale Bridge to enter the city. Without a second river crossing, not a single extra service from Beenleigh, the Gold Coast, Cleveland or future cities like Springfield will be able to enter the city.
“Cross River Rail is about increasing capacity at the heart of the network to break what will be a bottleneck. The feasibility study into Cross River Rail is well underway. Next year, we will release the proposed route for consultation and an Environmental Impact Statement.
"By 2016 our passenger rail network will be at capacity. If we want to build a modern Queensland, this is a must do.”
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