The Queensland Government is officially calling for tenders for Stage 2 of the Light Rail.
It follows positive discussions about potential funding between Deputy Premier Jackie Trad and Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Infrastructure and Regional Development Warren Truss.
“Since submitting Queensland’s detailed funding submission to the Commonwealth, we have had very positive discussions with representatives from the Turnbull Government,” Ms Trad said.
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“These discussions demonstrate there is now a genuine willingness to progress this vital infrastructure project which could create up to 1,000 jobs during construction.
“Following these discussions the Queensland Government now has the confidence to move Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 2 to the next stage of the procurement process, which is the formal Request for Tender.
“Although we don’t yet have an agreement with the Turnbull Government, I believe we are very close to securing a contribution that would allow this project to be built in time for the Commonwealth Games.
“We already have strong support for the project from the City of Gold Coast, who have committed $55 million in cash and $3.5 million in-kind support towards Stage 2, and promising signals from the Commonwealth which enable us to take this next step.”
The Deputy Prime Minister said the Australian Government was pleased to receive the business case for Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 2 and analyse the project in detail.
“Since receiving the business case we have been in a position to explore the opportunities and discuss the options with the Queensland Government,” Mr Truss said.
“I am confident that armed with the relevant information we can now move to reach a positive outcome quickly.
“The Australian Government is already investing more than $13 billion to build the modern transport infrastructure Queensland needs for the 21st century and we are committed to ensuring projects deliver the long-term gains the community expects.”
The move follows the completion of an expression of interest process last month, with six national and international consortia vying to construct the proposed 7.3 kilometre light rail alignment, which will run from the Helensvale heavy rail station and bus interchange to the Gold Coast University Hospital.
The Queensland Government has now requested GoldLinQ finalise the expressions of interest process and release the Request for Tender documentation to the successful shortlisted proponents. The Request for Tender documentation will be released in the coming days by GoldLinQ with bids closing in late December 2015.
Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said the Queensland Government was seeking innovative and competitively priced bids from these consortiums and an assurance Stage 2 construction will be completed in late 2017 or early 2018 to allow the trams and integrated system to become operational in time for the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games which will be held in April 2018. For probity reasons, GoldLinQ will release the names of the shortlisted consortiums as part of the Request for Tender process.
“Transport planning for the Games is progressing well and Stage 2 of the Gold Coast Light Rail will add more transport options for spectators heading to venues,” Ms Trad said.
Gold Coast Mayor, Tom Tate said today’s announcement to seek tenders for this critical stage of the light rail shows the determination of the State Government to see this project come to fruition.
“I applaud the State and reiterate Council’s $55 million commitment to stage two – let’s all get on board this legacy project for our city,” Mr Tate said.
“Our city is on the eve of significant growth and prosperity. By linking light rail with heavy rail will allow Brisbane’s 1.2 million residents easy access to our city via public transport-importantly, it will take vehicles off the M1 in both directions.”
Stage 2 is critical infrastructure to support the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games transport task. The preferred route for Stage 2 will run from Helensvale heavy rail station adjacent to the Gold Coast Rail Line, then adjacent to the Smith Street Motorway to connect with Stage 1 at the Gold Coast University Hospital light rail station. Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 2 will include new light rail stations at Helensvale, Parkwood and Parkwood East and an extra 1,400 park and ride carparks at Helensvale and Parkwood stations.
The Department of Transport and Main Roads has identified savings within its existing budget to allow for a State Government contribution to this project with no new spending required over the forward estimates.