The inland railway studies list all the pros and cons including implications and cost differences including various hybrids involving the the NCL. The inland route still came out ahead.
A cross Sydney bypass freight line was most recently covered in the July 2012 NSFC Strategic Review. It's hardly a cheap option either considering the combined cost of the SSFL and those few NSFC projects is almost $2 billion
People are reading far more into this than is actually there.
Both Govts have "supported" the building of the Inland line since the Howard era.
What "supported" however seems to mean is that they want the line to be built, but want someone else to pay for it.
A bit like the model the Alice Springs to Darwin used.
Putting up funds to show that something seems to be happening is always the start to see if any private sector capital can then be leveraged from the Govt investment.
You will know the line is serious , when both the NSW and QLD Govts publickly show their support as well, as without their support it dont happen.
Why doesnt ARTC pay for the line by borrowing the money, and then recovering the costs via Track access charges.
The NBN is being built on borrowed money borrowed by NBNCO.
Its not budgeted for.
After the election, regardless of who wins , dont expect to hear any more about this line for another 3 years.