Mixed reaction to Brisbane Underground plan (Video)

Mixed reaction to Brisbane Underground plan :Industry groups have welcomed the state government’s revamped Brisbane Underground, but the Opposition fears it will sell assets to pay for it.

Premier Campbell Newman on Sunday revealed plans to build a 5.4 kilometre Brisbane Underground Bus and Rail Tunnel (UBAT) from Dutton Park in the south to Victoria Park in the north.

The move combines the previous Labor government’s Cross River Rail project and the Brisbane City Council’s Suburbs 2 City bus plan.

Mixed reaction to Brisbane Underground plan
Premier Newman said the combined project’s estimated cost of $5 billion would save $3 billion if those schemes went ahead separately.

The government has yet to outline full costings for the project, saying the state will fund it with a contribution from BCC.

But Opposition leader Annastasia Palaszczuk said the scale of the new 15 metre wide, double decker tunnel could cause cost blowouts.

Mixed reaction to Brisbane Underground plan
“I’m very concerned that a bigger tunnel will cost more money, and Campbell Newman and the Treasurer [Tim Nicholls] have not said where the money is coming from,” she said.

“I’m very concerned that this means one thing – asset sales.”

The government said the project would now pass to the Coordinator-General to assess environmental impacts.

Dutton Park train station will be resumed, but 108 other residences and businesses that would have been affected by Cross River Rail will be spared.

Ms Palaszczuk said it was disappointing the government had ditched all the development work that had gone into the previous plan.

“It has had the business costings done, it has had the environmental impacts done, it is shovel ready,” she said.

“This proposal means we are now back to the drawing boards.”

Lobby group Rail Back on Track described the UBAT plan as exciting and welcome news, but spokesperson Robert Dow said it must be constructed with future capacity demands in mind.

“For example, new rail stations should be constructed in a space to allow nine car trains, and the bus tunnel segment must be of such size to allow rail or light rail modifications down the track,” Mr Dow said.

“Future proofing is essential, there will be only one chance to get it right.”

National industry group The Tourism and Transport Forum said the UBAT would be a world first that would future proof Brisbane’s public transport system.

“The two greatest transport constraints facing the Brisbane CBD are rail capacity across the Merivale Bridge and trying to cater for the predicted growth in bus numbers which, if nothing changes, will see more and more buses crammed into the limited space of Brisbane’s surface road network,” TTF chief executive Ken Morrison said.

“Instead of trying to solve these problems separately, the government’s proposal addresses both of these issues in an innovative project that will attract worldwide interest.”

Mr Morrison said the project would deliver better services for both residents and workers in the CBD and give visitors better access to the Gabba and the proposed new entertainment precinct on George Street.

Mixed reaction to Brisbane Underground plan

Source : www.brisbanetimes.com.au

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