Cross River Rail Is "Not A Priority' But There Is Good News
Brisbane's proposed Cross River Rail has taken a back seat to two other major Queensland transport projects in Infrastructure Australia's latest list of priorities.
The independent statutory body has listed Brisbane Metro and the Beerburrum to Nambour rail upgrade ahead of Cross River Rail, which the Queensland government considers to be the state's number one infrastructure priority.
The Brisbane Council's $944 million metro project is listed as a high priority, putting it in pole position to secure federal funding, while the $722 million Beerburrum rail link is listed as a priority.
The $5.4 billion Cross River Rail continues to be listed as a high priority initiative after Infrastructure Australia last year criticised its business case and called for a new one to be drawn up.
Both the Brisbane Metro and the Beerburrum Rail Link have the support of Liberal National Party figures, in contrast to the Labor-backed Cross River Rail.
Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack, the federal infrastructure minister, talked up the credentials of both projects.
He said Brisbane Metro would ease bottlenecks on the SouthEast Queensland busway, and the Beerburrum rail link would greatly improve train travel times between the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane.
"I am particularly pleased to see the addition of two major Queensland projects to the list following the assessment by Infrastructure Australia as having the potential to improve connectivity and reduce urban congestion," Mr McCormack said.
But Queensland Deputy Premier Jackie Trad accused Infrastructure Australia of succumbing to political influence.
"Infrastructure Australia don't want to list it as a priority because the federal government doesn't want to fund it," she told ABC Radio.
The state government says the two other projects could only be effective if Cross River Rail went ahead.
Queensland has vowed to push ahead with Cross River Rail on its own and some preparation work on the project has already begun.