|Not the Brisbane Underground|
However, Queensland premier Campbell Newman has been reported to be devising a cut price alternative plan, known as the "Brisbane Underground". Little is known about this project other than:
- It will be a North South Rail Line, as per Cross River Rail.
- It is likely to be based on a "cheaper" George Street alignment instead of a more "central"Albert Street" alignment.
- It will take advantage of George and William Street precinct redevelopments.
- It is likely to be combined with a bus tunnel.
It should be noted that Cross River Rail was the result of an in-depth review into multiple alignments, and George Street was not one of the short listed alignments. However, this was before Campbell Newman's plans to redevelop the end of George Street. This brings a potential new catchment to this "rather close to the river" alignment, and may allow for more partnership and funding from the private sector to reduce costs. Apparently, under George Street is easier to tunnel too.
BrizCommuter doubts that there is currently need for a combined bus tunnel, as current SE Busway congestion could be simply solved by a more efficient and better designed bus network (as per TransLink's bus network review abandoned by transport minister Scott Emerson). However, this forward thinking by a state government must be commended.
It will be interesting to see how these plans develop. With Abbott's road centric spending, there may be more state funds available for urban rail. Whilst the new plans must cut costs, they must not significantly cut benefits (as occurred with the ill-thought out Cleveland Solution). It will be interesting to see how this plan develops, but action will need to take place very soon due to the impeding George and William Street redevelopments, and impending congestion crisis.