Image for Infrastructure Tasmania gives Hobart Rail the Green Light

*Pic: Glenorchy Mayor Kristie Johnston, Denison MP Elise Archer and Premier Premier Will Hodgman ...

The Hobart Northern Suburbs Rail Action Group welcomes the findings of Infrastructure Tasmania’s review of the Hobart Light Rail project. The review acknowledges deficiencies in the previous Government’s studies and makes two clear recommendations:

1)    Infrastructure Tasmania work with Hobart and Glenorchy City Councils, then the private sector, to identify development opportunities around the rail stations. These land use benefits have not been considered in previous light rail studies and will bolster the economic case.

2)    The rail corridor is a strategic passenger transport route for Greater Hobart and must be protected. The asset is critical to the success of future developments such as Macquarie Point and MONA.

Group President Ben Johnston said, “I’m concerned that today’s Mercury headline “No light rail for suburbs” is at odds with the recommendations in the Infrastructure Tasmania report! Yes, a small operating subsidy may be required but this is normal and needs to be considered in light of the enormous socio-economic benefits and avoided costs of road upgrades. The private sector engagement required to progress the project will not eventuate if the State Government pursues a Do Nothing approach?”

“Previously the Mayors of Hobart and Glenorchy have called for the Hobart Light Rail Project to be considered a strategic infrastructure priority. They have recognised the important role that local government will play in guiding strategic and complementary land use around transit nodes and can now join the State Government in defining this. As we are in a Federal election year there is no better time to present the Prime Minister with this city shaping project drawing together both local and state government strategic priorities in planning, population growth, and economic development”, said Ben Johnston.

Members of the State Government including Premier Will Hodgman, and Denison MPs Elise Archer and Matthew Groom have enthusiastically supported the rail project from Opposition and now have a golden opportunity to present a compelling case to the Federal Government and progress a transformative and innovative project for Hobart and Tasmania – so cost effective as it utilises the abandoned railway!

Light rail will be fast and integrated with bus services and park ‘n’ ride, making public transport an attractive alternative to the private car. It will be a catalyst for development and jobs.

Reference: Review of a proposed light rail system in Hobarthttp://www.stategrowth.tas.gov.au/home/about_us/infrastructure