Kevin Rudd keeps high-speed rail hope aliveKEVIN Rudd has sought to re-energise his election campaign today by announcing a fresh Labor commitment to a high-speed rail line along Australia's east coast.
The move follows the completion of a $20 million feasibility study, promised by Labor at the last election, which found a high-speed rail link between Brisbane, Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne would cost $114 billion and take 45 years to complete.
Mr Rudd today unveiled the next step in Labor's preparations for the project, talking up the capacity of the project to drive jobs creation.
However, it was understood the Prime Minister was to stop short of making any definitive commitment to go ahead with what Infrastructure Minister Anthony Albanese called a “monumental endeavour”.
Mr Albanese tweeted earlier this morning: "Releasing High Speed Rail Advisory Group Report today shows a return of $2-10 for every $1 invested on Sydney-Melbourne."
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Really a long term thinker isn't he?
Abbott focus on roads, not high-speed rail
TONY Abbott says a coalition government will focus on road projects that can be started in its first term of office, rather than a high-speed rail project that would take decades.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd is expected to announce $52 million in funding to begin the process of buying land for a high-speed rail corridor connecting Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne.
Asked if he supported the move, the opposition leader said: "I'd much rather spend money now to get better outcomes tomorrow, rather than in 40 years' time".
A coalition government has committed to building or upgrading a range of roads across the country, including WestConnex in Sydney and the East West Link in Melbourne.
"All of these will be substantially underway within the first term of a coalition government," Mr Abbott told reporters in Brisbane.
The Australian Greens say the government's move is too little too late.
Greens leader Christine Milne said her party had committed $664 million over four years to fast-track the project, and would establish a new High Speed Rail Authority.
"If the ALP had been as forward thinking as the Greens we could already be well on track to having high speed rail in Australia," Senator Milne said in a statement.
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