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High-speed rail brought to a halt

<p>The Federal Government dumped plans for an east coast high-speed train service last week (March 26) because it would cost taxpayers up to $50bn.</p> <p>Last budget, $20m was allocated for a study into a fast-train link between Melbourne, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane.</p> <p>A preliminary scoping study was completed on passenger transport needs for the east coast over the next 20-30 years, benefits of a fast rail link, technology and route options, key economic and social concerns as well as likely costs and financing.</p> <p>It shows that to construct a full 2,000-km network will cost between $33bn and $59bn and 80% of this money would come from public funds. The report also found the returns would be very low.</p> <p>Transport minister John Anderson recommended scrapping the $20m study before it went any further.</p> <p>&#8220To go any further would have been an exercise in false hope,&#8221 he said.</p> <p>Shadow transport minister Martin Ferguson accused the government of blowing a fortune on the study to cover up the failure of the initial Sydney-Canberra high-speed rail plan.</p> <p>The $20m would have been better spent upgrading the interstate main line or port access works, he said.</p> <p>However, the preliminary study cost $2.3m.</p> <br />