QLD secures light rail funds

Gold Coast light rail extension to go ahead with $95 million Federal Government windfall

Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull pledged $95 million toward the Gold Coast light rail project, heralding a major shift in the Federal Government’s funding policy this week.

The announcement means the extension of the tram line to connect with the main rail line at Helensvale, will be delivered in time for the Commonwealth Games in 2018 with the City of Gold Coast, as well as the Queensland and Federal Governments committing funds to the project.

More importantly, it represents the first real commitment by the Federal Government to directly fund public transport infrastructure projects and a departure from the reluctant stance of former prime minister Tony Abbott.

"Construction of stage two of Gold Coast light rail will provide the missing link from the Gold Coast to Brisbane," prime minister Malcolm Turnbull says.

"This project is vital for the Commonwealth Games transport task.

"It connects five competition venues and nine events to accommodation and public transport interchanges."

Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk is rapt with the Federal Government’s financial support.

"Once the Commonwealth was provided with the business case, the prime minister prioritised the decision to fund this infrastructure, which will be critical to the success of the Commonwealth Games," she says.

"With this announcement from the Commonwealth and the $55 million funding commitment from the council, all three levels of government are now on board to deliver this legacy project for Queensland.

"The new line will connect the Coast to Brisbane and complement an impressive pipeline of new resorts and attractions already in train."

Queensland minister for transport Jackie Trad is confident a preferred contractor will be selected early next year, following the close of tender on December 23.

"Light rail has become the backbone of the public transport network and stage one has driven a 25 percent increase in public transport patronage on the Gold Coast in the first year alone," she says.

"Gold Coast light rail is a transformative piece of infrastructure and stage two will continue to change the way people move and get around the Gold Coast."

The expression of interest process ended in September, with six national and international firms in the running to construct the 7.3 kilometre light rail line.

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