THE state’s peak motoring body has joined with the Mayor and local MP’s in slamming calls for the light rail extension to Burleigh to be altered in a bid to make it more cost effective.
The RACQ has called for the “political bunfight” to come to an end, as bickering over funding continues to put a cloud over the project’s future.
“This project relies on funding from the Federal and State Governments, and Gold Coast Council,” the RACQ’s Head of Public Policy, Rebecca Michael, said.
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“There’s talk of a scope change, but it’s too late for that – all tiers of government agreed to it before the business case was approved.
“Whoever forms the next Federal Government needs to immediately meet with the State Government and Gold Coast Council to get this funding row fixed and get construction on stage 3A started.
“We need politicians to get on board, work together and help bridge the funding gap.”
It follows comments from local Federal Minister Karen Andrews, who suggested the extension from Broadbeach to Burleigh should be cut by 700 metres because the federal government wasn’t going to budge on its $112 million funding offer already on the table.
Mayor Tom Tate has been pleading for an extra $45 million in funding from both sides of politics to complete the project but neither the LNP or Labor have agreed.
The RACQ has also called for priority to be given to Pacific Motorway upgrades, which did much of the heavy lifting on the local road network.
“The Coomera Connector’s certainly high on our wish list, but it’s important the Pacific Motorway isn’t forgotten and gets its fair share of funding too,” she said.
“We need improvements along the length of the Pacific Motorway to be fast-tracked. That means the delivery of interchange upgrades, six lanes between Varsity Lakes and Tugun, and eight lanes between the Gateway Motorway and Loganholme.
“Traffic issues affect many of us each day, but sadly for some, the impacts last forever. We can’t afford for lives and livelihoods to be at the mercy of political funding disputes.”