Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Is Cross River Rail a 2013 election decider?

Artists impression of Gabba station
Why is Cross River Rail required?

The track capacity across the Merivale Bridge is already near capacity in the morning peak for trains running from the Gold Coast/ Beenleigh/
Cleveland Line corridor. Many of Beenleigh and Cleveland Line trains are already close to standing capacity, and many Gold Coast services are on the verge of having standing passengers for long distances (again). Without Cross River Rail (CRR) overcrowding will become serious in the last four years of this decade, forcing passengers onto the congested road system (in particular the Pacific Highway).

From the North, the extension of Petrie services to Kippa-Ring (Redcliffe) when the Moreton Bay Rail Link opens in 2016 will add extra passengers onto the Caboolture/Sunshine Coast corridor which is also near maximum train capacity in the morning peak. Without CRR (which may allow Shorncliffe Line to serve inner Caboolture Line stations) overcrowding will become critical around 2020, again pushing passengers back onto the congested Bruce Highway. 

CRR will also improve public transport access to southern end of the CBD, Wooloongabba, and the redeveloped Exhibition showgrounds. 

This failure to build Cross River Rail (CRR) will result in not only railway overcrowding across SE Queensland, but add to road congestion, and road trauma. Commuting and transport delays will result in negative financial impact to Queensland's economy.  

So who can make it happen?

The Queensland state government (who claim that they are serious debt) have motioned that will stump up 50% of the cost if the federal government funds the other 50%. Thus the ball is likely to be in the court of whoever wins the forthcoming federal election:

Kevin Rudd (ALP) - Kevin 07 has apparently already struck a deal with Campbell Newman's LNP state government to fund CRR on a 50/50 basis. CRR looks likely with underdog Kevin, although the QLD state government's ineptitude and political games when it comes to public transport may put a spanner in the works.

Tony Abbott (LNP) - election favourite Tony Abbott has clearly stated that it is not the federal government's responsibility to fund urban rail projects. This is despite current and past federal governments contributing significantly to multiple urban rail projects. It seems that Tony Abbott is well and truly stuck in unsustainable 1960s road centric policy. Be afraid, very afraid. Of course there is still time for a U-turn!

So how can Cross River Rail decide the election?

For starters, Kevin Rudd is from Queensland, and is quite popular within the state. Whilst it is expected that overall the ALP will loose seats, within Queensland the result may be the opposite. The LNP hold some very marginal seats in Queensland, including Brisbane itself. With the LNP's reputation being quickly tarnished by Campbell Newman's nasty-ness, then the LNP could indeed loose these marginal seats, tipping the election result. 

Update 24/08/2013

With 2 weeks remaining of the election campaign, it seems that Cross River Rail has yet to become the topic it should be. Much of this can be put down to Murdoch's News Ltd reporting being quite obviously biased in favour of Tony Abbott. BrizCommuter observed an LNP candidate campaigning at a Ferny Grove Line train station last week, with most commuters oblivious that a vote for them will ultimately make their train commute worse! 


  1. A fed election will never be decided a local road or rail project. Its unlikely to even sway many votes outside SEQ.

    "The Queensland state government (who claim that they are serious debt)" there is no claim about it. Anna admitted it(and spent it in the first place) and hence why Anna postponed the yet to be funded CRR until 2015. The state needed nearly $10B from borrowings to balance the budget in 2013, if that's not enough for you, please go through the budget papers. Qld owes more money that the rest of the SE states combined.

  2. At the same time, Newman still want's to go ahead with the Redevelopment of the Executive Area along George Street - a vanity project if ever there was one. The fact that he has put a new office for himself as priority over critically needed infrastructure like the Cross River Rail project shows a very badly scewered set of priorities.

  3. Looks like the state and Fed LNP are falling to plan for the population increases and will cause a transport crisis in brisbane from 2016 just like the previous state ALP water crisis by failing to build dams before the last drought.


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