HE much-anticipated second stage of the Light Rail could be finished in time for the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
That’s the bold plan announced by the Queensland Government, which has opened up the expression of interest process today, for the 7.3im stretch of rapid transit from the GCUH stop at Parkwoods to meet the heavy rail at Helensvale.
Minister for Transport Jackie Trad called on the Federal Government to cough up funding for the project, saying it was of ‘national significance’.
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“(Prime Minister Tony) Abbott recently opened the door to consider providing additional funds towards the Commonwealth Games following a discussion with the Premier at the recent Council of Australian Governments meeting,” Ms Trad said.
“The Palaszczuk Government is now preparing a business case to enable this project to move from the drawing board to construction in time for the Commonwealth Games – contingent on a Federal funding contribution.”
Ms Trad said opening the expression of interest process and releasing the proposed route for stage two was a critical step to complete the submission for the federal government.
Gold Coast Mayor, Cr Tom Tate says the Gold Coast needs to seize this opportunity to complete the Light Rail connection to heavy rail.
“The state and the city are together on this so all we need now is PM Tony Abbott to get on board to fund the missing link in this job generating project,” Cr Tate said.
The short time frame has drawn criticism from the LNP, which claims the Transport Minister is not across all the facts.
“In a move that feels like an echo of the past we have seen today an empty promise with no funding and no proper business case attached,” Shadow Transport Minister Scott Emerson said.
“Labor’s legacy of bungling and mismanaging projects is about to be repeated,” he added.
“Last time Labor was in Government they used patronage projections that were three years old leaving taxpayers with a $300 million black hole.”
“Under the LNP we committed to deliver the project but only once we had a sound business case that provided value-for money for taxpayers.”
Expressions of interest will be open from Monday, 10 August 2015 for 21 days and close on Friday, 28 August 2015.