Australia, Transport News

ARA welcomes federal government infrastructure review

Additional funding into the rail industry has been welcomed by the ARA following the federal government infrastructure review

The Australasian Railway Association (ARA) has welcomed a funding boost for key rail projects that is set to deliver critical transport for the future under the federal government’s infrastructure review.

The review of the infrastructure investment program confirmed an additional $1.75 billion is set to be invested in the Logan-Gold Coast faster rail plus $1 billion more into Western Australia’s Metronet project.

A further $61.8 million for planning and development of the western intermodal freight terminal to connect Inland Rail in the western Melbourne suburb of Truganina has also been confirmed.

ARA CEO Caroline Wilkie says it’s encouraging that the independent review also recognised the Melbourne Airport link as an essential project that must go ahead.

“As a major global city experiencing considerable population growth, the Melbourne Airport link is a critical project that must proceed as soon as possible,” Wilkie says.

“It is an essential piece of transport infrastructure that will not only provide an important public transport link for commuters and businesses, but also support the local tourism industry.”

Wilkie says the review provided much needed certainty around the pipeline and an increased focus on delivering significant rail projects that enable economic growth and thriving communities.

“We are in the midst of a once-in-a-generation infrastructure pipeline that will greatly enhance how Australia moves its people and freight and it is critical that we have the right planning and processes in place to make the most of this opportunity,” Wilkie says.

“Having certainty around infrastructure projects ensures a viable and sustainable local rail supply chain which minimises disruptions to contractors and suppliers and enables better workforce planning and capability and reduces costs.”

Wilkie says the additional investment in faster rail from Logan to the Gold Coast is also a welcome boost, with much of Australia’s regional rail infrastructure being slow by world standards.

“With a ballooning population and increasing congestion on highways, immediate investment in existing networks will improve the speed, reliability and frequency of regional rail services between the Gold Coast and the south of Brisbane,” Wilkie says.

“It has been shown overseas that small travel time improvements can have a significant impact on increasing patronage and supporting the economies and communities of cities.”

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