The Federal Government is evaluating a fast rail project that could connect Brisbane and the Sunshine Coast in as little as 45 minutes.
A consortium of planners has developed the confidential plan according to The Courier-Mail. The plan, North Coast Connect, would be the first rail link between Brisbane and Maroochydore. It would create 200km of fast rail saving about two hours’ travel time on a return trip.
The project has been submitted by Stockland, Smec, Urbis and KPMG, and reportedly has the backing of 26 Queensland federal parliamentarians, who are demanding the Prime Minister give Queensland a majority slice of $10 billion set aside under its National Rail Program.
It is understood the project has been short-listed by the Government. Member for Fairfax Ted O’Brien, who has been driving the project on behalf of the LNP, said that the “Team Queensland” parliamentarians “are going after this one hard”.
“With $10 billion available from the Turnbull Government, we need to be advocating for billions, not millions,’’ O’Brien said. “Fast rail means people can live, work and play where they want, without the stress of excessive commuting times. It will expand job and study options, enable more lifestyle choice and build an economically strong and user-friendly southeast corner. If we can get fast rail, as opposed to standard 100-year-old rail, we’ll see people wake up in Nambour at 7 o’clock and be at their desk in Brisbane by 8 o’clock.”
O’Brien said the project could cost anywhere between $3-$5 billion, and would have the potential to create thousands of jobs, relieve pressure on the Bruce Highway and revitalise Nambour.
Stage 1 would include an upgrade of the existing line from Brisbane to Beerburrum. Stage 2 from Beerburrum to Nambour would entail new rail and upgrades of existing rail, and Stage 3 from Beerwah to Maroochydore would include a 40km spur line branching off the North Coast Line.
North Coast Connect is the only Queensland fast rail project to be short-listed along with 10 others vying for three business cases that the Commonwealth will consider funding.
Source: The Urban Developer