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High speed rail – is it finally coming?

A high-speed rail line between Sydney and Melbourne is a step closer to reality today after the Federal Government released a report looking into the viability of the project.

The report suggests a high-speed rail line down the east coat would cost $114 billion, but would pay its way, carrying 84 million passengers per year.

Transport Minister Anthony Albanese announced he would convene a special panel to consider the construction of the line – with RTBU National Secretary Bob Nanva set to sit on the expert panel.

Loco Division Secretary Bob Hayden said that the announcement is an important first step towards the possible introduction of high-speed rail into Australia – a possibility which has been discussed for decades.

“The price tag is large, and even though the report suggests the first high speed train would not be seen until 2035,  it’s important we don’t let that put us off the idea alone,” Bob Hayden said.

“Transport infrastructure on this scale should always be seen as a long term National Building investment, not a cost.

“We need to be looking at innovative financing options that can help us make the line a reality. There are plenty of options that need be explored – and we’re confident that the expert panel will be in a position to do just that.

“It’s fantastic to see a Federal Transport Minister willing to take a real look at the issue and one that can see the long-term benefits of the project.

“The benefits of rail cannot be underestimated. We’re hopeful that the long-term positive aspects of the rail service will not be overlooked in favour of short-term monetary interests.”

See the full report here.