QLD Budget misses the bus

Massive transport infrastructure spend sets high the bar high after release of QLD Budget

There are a number of public transport and road-upgrade goodies in the 2015-2016 Queensland Government budget released yesterday.

More than $18.8 billion is allocated to Queensland’s transport infrastructure over the next four years as part of the Queensland Transport and Road Investment Program (QTRIP).

The QTRIP plan includes spending on public transport, roads, rail, marine and active transport infrastructure.

Queensland minister for transport Jackie Trad says the funds invested will make a huge difference and help public transport operators deliver a better level of service.

"The Palaszczuk Government is investing in our state’s roads and public transport network to reduce congestion and improve safety, services and infrastructure for all Queenslanders," she says.

While detail on bus-specific funding is yet to emerge, the $60 million Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme should include some goodies to help improve existing infrastructure that supports Queensland’s bus network.

Queensland minister for main roads and road safety Mark Bailey says investment in the roads, road safety and maritime tops $14 billion.

"In a vast state like Queensland, motorists rely on a safe and reliable road network, particularly in regional areas where roads are the lifeblood of many communities," he says.

"We have significantly increased the 50:50 state/local government Transport Infrastructure Development Scheme funding by $60 million over two years, and brought it forward by a year to provide much needed support for local infrastructure and jobs."

The $10.1 billion capital works program, meanwhile, includes a significant chunk for vital improvements to existing transport infrastructure, Queensland treasurer Curtis Pitt says.

"10,500 jobs are expected to be supported by roads and transport-related projects, with almost $4 billion committed to infrastructure and capital grants for Queensland’s roads and transport network," he says.

Almost half of this $10 billion will be spent in regional Queensland, with $4.8 billion pumped into its infrastructure.

Major road projects include $175 million to upgrade the Gateway Motorway North, $161 million to upgrade major Gold Coast roads in the lead up to the 2018 Commonwealth Games and $113 million for the Bruce Highway.

While bus infrastructure improvements are yet to be announced, a huge investment in rail packs $568 million to continue rail network improvements, $304 million to overhaul rolling-stock, including stabling facilities and will go some ways towards the purchase of 75 new trains.

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