Australasian Railway Association chief executive Bryan Nye has backed Queensland transport minister Jackie Trad’s call for federal funding of urban rail, calling the Moreton Bay Rail line “symbolic” of a better time.
Trad on Wednesday inspected the first train lines being placed down on the $1 billion project, and used the occasion to tell the media she was campaigning for the federal government to alter its stoic stance against urban rail funding – and would continue to do so.
Nye welcomed the project milestone, but said the Moreton Bay project was more significant to the rail industry than that.
“The construction of this rail line is symbolic, because it represents more than just decreased city congestion, efficient public transport services and a safer way to travel,” Nye said on Thursday.
“It represents a time when the federal government worked with the states to build the infrastructure this country needs, which is on the railway networks of our biggest cities.”
The Moreton Bay Rail Link was funded $583 million by the federal government, $300 million by the Queensland government, and $105 million by the local council.
Once complete, the new infrastructure will connect Lawnton to Kippa-Ring via 14km of double track, including six new stations and 22 bridge structures to provide grade separation of road and rail.
“Australia as a nation is facing increasingly serious economic, social and environmental problems with traffic congestion clogging our roads, transport emissions choking our urban environment, higher cost of living and the continued growth of our major cities,” Nye continued.
“What is needed is investment in an integrated transport system that links our roads, rail and ports to help move the growing numbers of people and goods across Australia.”
Nye said the ARA hopes to continue to work with all levels on government in ensuring that the right infrastructure choices are made for rail.
“State governments cannot be expected to foot the bill for the increasing passenger rail infrastructure needed in our cities,” he said.
“It is through the collaborative efforts of governments on key infrastructure projects, like the Moreton Bay Rail Line, that true potential for rail and other key infrastructure projects can be realised.”