The ARTC has clarified the reasons behind an additional $5.5 billion equity injection from the federal government for the delivery of Inland Rail.
According to Inland Rail CEO Richard Wankmuller, investigations carried out in the last five years meant that additional investment would be needed to meet community and customer expectations.
“Inland Rail is one of the largest infrastructure programs undertaken in Australia and I have said from the outset that we want to get it right in terms of consultation, design and outcomes for the community and our rail customers,” he said.
“This further investment will enable us to deliver the project to its fullest potential.”
The updated design of the project will now include an extra 4,500 culverts, nine additional viaducts, a further 6.8km of bridges, 10 extra grade separations, and 450km of fencing. The increase in cost represents a roughly 50 per cent increase on the project’s previous budget of $9.9bn.
This additional scope is based on identified community and customer benefits. For communities, these include safer floodplain crossings, safer road crossings, allowing for capacity for passenger rail, where appropriate. For customers, the extra investment will ensure a sub-24 hour transit time, a more resilient freight line, inbuilt future proofing for climate change, and better access for ports.
Wankmuller said that the focus was on ensuring the longevity of the project.
“ARTC is delivering a safer, world-class Inland Rail that will future-proof Australia’s freight network for generations to come,” he said.
“Creating a second link between Queensland and the southern states will make Australia’s national freight rail network more resilient and able to withstand disruptions, including extreme weather events.”
Wankmuller also highlighted that the further investment would lead to increased benefits for communities along the alignment during construction.
“Inland Rail is now estimated to create 21,500 jobs at peak construction. The project will generate an economic boost of more than $18 billion to the economy during construction and over the first 50 years of operations over and above the cost of delivery.”