By George Carrington, produced for Online by Naveen Razik
The Brisbane Metro has been awarded a golden ticket from the Federal Government.
Federal funding totalling $300 million is expected to be allocated to the Brisbane Metro development in tonight’s Federal Budget, along with $3.3 billion in upgrades for the Bruce Highway and $170 million for Cunningham Highway from Ipswich to the Darling Downs.
The long-awaited funding guarantee has been welcomed by transport groups around the South East, who have been lobbying for major upgrades to Brisbane’s transport infrastructure to help tackle congestion.
RAIL Back on Track advocacy group spokesperson Robert Dow welcomed the funding guarantee and says this upgrade is crucial for those living in the outer suburbs.
He expects the Metro project to “actually free up more buses [for] more suburban routes, particularly feeder routes and cross suburban routes.”
With the upgrades expected to help reduce congestion during peak traffic, Mr. Dow hopes the Metro project “makes public transport more attractive” to commuters.
“If resources are put into public transport it works,” he says.
“By investing in major infrastructure projects it allows improved frequency, better connections, and reliable running.”
The announcement has also been welcomed by RACQ, who say the Metro Project is a key development if Brisbane wants to promote itself as a ‘New World City’.
“Brisbane public transport really needs to be brought up to scratch,” spokesperson Kirsty Clinton says.
“For a major growing capital city in Australia, we just don’t have the public transport network that’s needed. Brisbane metro will help reduce congestion on some of Brisbane’s most used roads.”
The RACQ also expressed concerns about the lack of federal support for the Cross-River Rail project, which has been developed in tandem with the Brisbane Metro by the State Government.
Bicycle Queensland advocacy and policy manager Andrew Demack welcomed the cash injection but was disappointed with the long delays in securing federal funding.
“Local governments and state governments have been doing the heavy lifting on this already, and the federal government is late to the party,” he says.
As well as improvements to public transport, upgrades to Brisbane’s cycling and footpaths are also expected to come out of the Budget.
Ms Clinton says it is important these developments are progressed to ensure safety and to ensure “people who want to do these types of transport can”.
Bicycle Queensland also welcomed funding for new upgrades to Brisbane’s cycle network, in order to offer all Brisbane residents the benefit of choice when it comes to transport.
“[You need] to encourage people to get out of their cars and to have other choices for how they get around their city,” Mr. Demack explains.
“Actual transport and public transport are the two main ways you can do that.”