Room in State Budget for Rail Service
Tasmania can afford to build Northern Suburbs Railway without help
Community public transport group, Future Transport Tasmania (FTT), said today that the upcoming State Budget should include funding for the planned Hobart to Northern Suburbs Light Rail service. FTT added that with the additional GST allocation, plus the desire of the State Liberal Government to create jobs, the railway was an obvious job-creating project that will rejuvenate the Northern Suburbs. FTT believes that the funding commitment should be made now so that planning can begin, and that initially a relatively small amount of money would actually be needed.
FTT’s view has always been that the Northern Suburbs Railway (or Riverline) project can be funded entirely by the State Government without any need for assistance from the Federal Government or any Public-Private Partnership arrangement. The cost of the necessary infrastructure and rolling-stock will inevitably take a few years to properly plan and implement, thus enabling it to be spread over a number of years. FTT said that the low cost of Riverline, less than $100 million, as compared to nearly $1 billion for the Gold Coast Light Rail project, meant that Tasmania could easily afford the project.
Future Transport Tasmania spokesperson Toby Rowallan said: “The State Liberal Government wants to create jobs. That is completely understandable. Well we have a job-creation project right here that is literally ready to go. The Hobart-Northern Suburbs Light Rail project is easily affordable over a four-year period. The business case does have a positive net-cost benefit ratio. We are already spending over $30 million for just one intersection on the Brooker Highway. That amount of money per annum over just three years, would pay for at least the first stage of the Riverline project. The rail service will give us the equivalent capacity of an additional lane each-way on the Brooker Highway, our most congested arterial road in Hobart. Spending that money on the highway itself will not give us anywhere near that amount of bang for our buck.”
“The Northern Suburbs Railway service will do far more than just improve public transport in Hobart and Glenorchy. It will create jobs. It will improve land values, encourage investment into higher density housing, and increase new job accessibility. It will also guarantee good transport access for the Macquarie Point development project, a vital part of that project’s future success. If done properly it will also enable heritage trains and trams to use the line, furthering our tourism sector.”