Queensland deputy premier and minister for transport Jackie Trad says the Moreton Bay Rail Link, which is nearing completion, is a good example of why the federal government should take part in urban rail funding.
The $988 million Moreton Bay Rail Link, which was jointly funded by the Australian Government, the Queensland Government and the Moreton Bay Regional Council, is on track to be completed by the end of 2016, after construction began in 2012.
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.
“Moreton Bay Rail will revolutionise public transport in the area, providing a reliable and fast alternative to driving to the Brisbane central business district that is expected to result in travel time savings of up to 15 minutes during peak periods,” Trad said in a release on Wednesday.
“The project will provide a huge economic injection to one of South East Queensland’s fastest-growing regions, helping to attract investment to the area, create business opportunities, and encourage growth along the corridor, with new train stations set to emerge as hubs of development.”
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.
Such funding from the federal level is officially a thing of the past, however, with the Abbott Government’s much-publicised refusal to fund urban rail transport projects.
But according to Fairfax, the Queensland government plans to use the Moreton Bay project as a case study to campaign for the continuation of funding from the federal level for urban rail projects.
Trad reportedly argued the case on Wednesday at a public inspection of the development, saying she met with Abbott’s assistant minister for infrastructure Jamie Briggs on Tuesday.
“We had a very constructive conversation,” Trad was quoted as saying, “but once again I made it very clear that Queensland is very, very interested in the federal government changing its position on funding public transport infrastructure projects.
“We know that infrastructure projects like this – like the Moreton Bay Rail Link – which will provide public transport options for people in the Redcliffe Peninsula is critical.
“We also know that there are a number of other public transport infrastructure projects that the south-east corner desperately needs,” she reportedly added.
“And we are very happy to keep working with the federal government and hopefully get them to change their minds in relation to funding public transport infrastructure.”
Moreton Bay Regional Council mayor Allan Sutherland said on Wednesday the rail link is the region’s biggest public infrastructure project in more than a generation.
“This is an historic milestone,” Sutherland said. “With 15% of the Moreton Bay Rail project’s tracks already laid, there is no denying this line isn’t just coming, it’s already here.”
Sutherland’s not precisely right – the line is on track to be finished later next year. It will connect to the main North Coast rail line at Petrie.