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THE state government was considering a range of mass transit options for Hobart’s northern suburbs, not only light rail, State Growth Minister Michael Ferguson said.
The federal government provided $25 million in the Hobart City Deal toward “activating the Northern Suburbs Transit Corridor through transit-oriented development”.
Work to determine the most cost-effective public transport solution was to begin immediately and was to be delivered within five to ten years.
Graphic of proposed light rail stations from Hobart to Bridgewater Supplied: HOBART NORTHERN SUBURBS RAIL ACTION GROUPMr Ferguson was work was underway to determine what form that “activation” would take.
“It’s not $25 million for light rail, it’s $25 million for a transport mode that will actually link up Macquarie Point and Hobart city with the northern suburbs of Hobart,” he said.
“We are working through that is, it is by the way also a ten-year commitment to activate that corridor.
“We intend that to be done a lot sooner than that.
“We’re technology agnostic as well — so we’re not fixated on light rail, heavy rail, buses or trackless trains, we’re exploring that right now and we’ve got the work underway to identify what is the appropriate transport mode and what’s the technology that will actually be cost-effective and fit-for-purpose for activating that northern rail corridor or because we are committed to it we intend to deliver.”
The rail corridor between Hobart and Brighton has been disused since 2014.
Originally floated as an $80m to $100 million project in the latter years of the Labor-Green government proposals for light rail have been derailed by the high cost and budget blowouts experienced by other sites.
Michael Ferguson MP during the press conference. Picture Chris KiddNew South Wales spent $2.7 billion building a 12 kilometre light rail line between the CBD and Randwick. Mr Ferguson said cost was one of the issues with passenger rail
“Light rail is very challenging,” he said.
“I mean any kind of rail where you put human beings on rail as passengers — as opposed to freight — brings with it an entirely different regime of safety compliance and that means cost. So we’re working through it,” he said.
“We’re really excited about it we’re committed to it. And we’re grateful to the federal government for the $25 million — which is in the piggy bank to open up that corridor.”
This article first appeared on www.themercury.com.au
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