Mayor Tom Tate is calling for construction of Light Rail Stage 3A to start straight away despite the project still being at the centre of a funding stoush.
The extension from Broadbeach South to Burleigh has already been held up because of a dispute between the State and Federal Governments.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk last week committed $351 million dollars towards the total cost of $709 million.
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The Federal Government has pledged $112 million dollars but is under pressure to up that to $269 million to get the line up and running.
Mayor Tate says there’s no reason why they can’t start construction now and sort out the funding shortfall later.
“While they’re arguing about the last $100 million, we should start the project now because it’s not going to be finished for 18 months, ” Mayor Tate said.
“So, until the bill has to be paid in 18 months, let’s get on with it.
“In other words, put your order in at the restaurant, we’ll split the bill later and at the very least, the children are hungry, let’s get on with it.”
The Mayor joined other prominent figures from the Gold Coast business and tourism industries today to start discussions on how the city should be shaped in years to come.
Mayor Tate also wants planning to start on extending the line to the airport, so that construction can begin as soon as Stage 3A is complete.
He’s pledged to offer $5 million dollars to the State Government to start a feasibility study now.
Queensland Airports CEO Chris Mills backed calls to extend the light rail to Gold Coast Airport as soon as possible.
Construction of a new hotel at the airport and the expansion of the terminal is underway as part of a $500 million master plan.
“For us, with that level of investment, we need to make sure we have a great connection to the airport and a great experience for people coming through,” Mr Mills said.
“People visiting the Gold Coast want a seamless experience, so for us that’s the light rail.”
“It’s not just for tourists, it’s for locals too and for future generations, that’s why getting in now, getting the infrastructure in place now means we don’t have to retrofit something when it’s too late.”
Mr Mills says the completion of the M1 upgrade, particularly on the southern Gold Coast was also crucial.
“So really that connectivity, light rail, the M1, they’re the big things we really need to make the airport link into the city so much better.”