Brisbane’s Cross River Rail project is one of the first victims of the new Abbott Coalition Government.
Mr Abbott’s refusal to fund any new public transport infrastructure means he will cut the $715 million allocated to the project in the 2013 Federal Budget. This cut is in spite of repeated warnings that the existing rail network will reach capacity by as soon as 2016.
Without this new rail infrastructure, local commuters will be left to endure fewer, slower and less reliable services as the rail network across South East Queensland becomes increasingly congested.
The $5.2 billion Cross River Rail project would have added significant additional capacity to the existing network by constructing a new, 9.7 kilometre long tunnel from Yeerongpilly Station to Victoria Park, as well as building four new underground stations.
Mr Abbott is putting out-dated ideology before the long term infrastructure needs of not just Brisbane, but cities across the country.
By his actions, Mr Abbott is also undermining the independent advisory process which is in place to assess the merits of projects, with Infrastructure Australia having already recommended Cross River Rail as a ‘ready to proceed’ project of national significance.
Mr Abbott’s unbalanced, ‘roads-only’ approach will inevitably lead to more gridlock, worsening congestion and a poorer quality of life in our cities.
By contrast, Labor firmly believes that any plan to keep our cities moving must involve investing in both their road and rail infrastructure. That’s why in government we doubled the roads budget and committed more funding to urban public transport infrastructure than all our predecessors since Federation combined.