Brisbane mayor sidesteps rail controversy

<p>Queensland premier Peter Beattie has welcomed the decision of Brisbane lord mayor Jim Soorley not to chair the city’s airport train company.</p> <p>It was the right thing to do, he said.</p> <p>Cr Soorley said his decision to reject the Airtrain appointment was based on the public perception that it is wrong.</p> <p>A controversy flared over a possible conflict of interest when major shareholder ABN Amro wanted him to chair the Airtrain City Link company, with a $90,000 salary and bonuses.</p> <p>Cr Soorley told the <em>Courier Mail</em> the job might have taken time away from his obsession with delivering a $1bn north-south tunnel linking Woolloongabba and Bowen Hills. </p> <p>"It’s now become impossible to stay in this job and do a couple of the big things that I’m determined to do before I leave and do the Airtrain position, so I won’t take the Airtrain position," he said. </p> <p>Cr Soorley plans to quit three other private sector boards.</p> <p>Airtrain was about to name Cr Coorley as replacement for Martin Kriewaldt. </p> <p>He and council running make Neil Summerson were reportedly headhunted to inject some marketing and financial skills into the company to improve its revenues. </p> <p>Mr Kriewaldt downplayed fears that the $220m Airtrain project is in financial strife and may have to revert to state ownership.</p> <p>"If we don’t increase the number of passengers at all from the level we have today we still have sufficient resources in hand to keep us afloat for more than two years," he&#8224said. </p> <p>"The new management team at Airtrain has a plan, they are working to that plan and that plan is beginning to bear fruit."</p> <br />