Greens say time to stop silly rail cut plan

16 November 2010

The state government’s investigation into the feasibility and costs of cutting the Newcastle rail line and building a terminus at Wickham confirmed that cutting the Newcastle rail line would waste hundreds of millions of dollars of public money, The Greens candidate for Newcastle, John Sutton said today.

“This report demonstrates that it would cost up to $505million of public money to lose rail patronage by cutting a major part of the city’s most sustainable transport infrastructure, without even putting anything in its place,” Mr Sutton said.

“Since the Member for Newcastle, Jodi McKay, first thumbed her nose at her party’s policy to keep the Newcastle rail line and threw her support behind the anti-rail push by developers, The Greens have warned that this would undermine the city’s ability to access crucial federal infrastructure and revitalisation funding.

“A proposal to cut an inner-city rail line will be laughed out of town by any government funding body that is serious about urban revitalisation and sustainable public transport.

“In the light of this report, I call on the Member for Newcastle to drop – once and for all – the silly notion of cutting the Newcastle rail line, and instead develop a rail-based revitalisation plan that achieves the dual objectives of revitalising the Newcastle CBD and improving the city’s public transport system.

“Instead of presiding over yet another public transport debacle, the state Labor government should be using this opportunity to rethink their whole approach to this issue.”

Mr Sutton said that the implications of the scoping study’s proposal to remove rail-crossings at Railway St and Beaumont St were entirely unexplored in the study itself, and could produce traffic chaos and simply shift the cross-rail connectivity issue westward.

For further information or comment, please contact John Sutton (Greens candidate for Newcastle), on 0411 154 004.

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