Prime Minister, Premier discuss funding for $100m Hobart light rail project

Prime Minister, Premier discuss funding for $100m Hobart light rail project :PREMIER Will Hodgman and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull are discussing “innovative” ways to fund a light rail project for Hobart.

In the lead-up to this year’s federal election, Mr Hodgman said funding for light rail, that could run from the waterfront to Hobart’s northern suburbs taking in Mona, was one issue being discussed.
Artwork of a light rail proposal for Hobart.

Mr Turnbull last week told the Mercury a light rail system could be a catalyst for urban renewal and regional development in Hobart.

But he is waiting for a lead on the $100 million project from the State Government.

Mr Hodgman said he was not sure if Mr Turnbull, a fan of public transport, particularly rail, would help to fund the $100 million project.

“You will have to ask him that, but I know that it is something that he has expressed support for,” he said.

“Rail transport across the country is an area of investment for governments.

“We have to balance the feasibility of Tasmania’s light rail and the light rail proposal to sustain a case for government funding, State or ­Commonwealth.

“If the Federal Government wants to partner with us, and again be a little bit more innovative, and co-invest in areas like this, they are the sorts of things I talk to Malcolm Turnbull about a lot.

“Let’s be a little bit more inno­vative in how we work as governments to do the really critical stuff, like fund hospitals and schools better, but also to invest in infrastructure.”

There is growing focus on alternative transport options as Hobart grapples with worsening traffic gridlocks.

In late January, the Mercury revealed the State Government had committed to keeping the disused rail corridor between Hobart and Brighton open to allow for future ­opportunities.

At the time, Infrastructure Minister Rene Hidding said: “The Government will work with both Glenorchy and Hobart city councils to develop a comprehensive understanding of land-use planning and rezoning issues for commercial and residential opportunities adjacent to the rail corridor.

“Increased land utilisation along the corridor, particularly residential, will contribute to making the light rail more ­sustainable.”

Late last year the mayors of Hobart and Glenorchy called for the Hobart Light Rail Project to be considered a strategic infrastructure priority.

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