There’s a lot of money being spent on business cases for Sunshine Coast Mass Transit and Heavy Rail to Maroochydore, but the big question is how much of this money is about kicking the can down the road and deliberate delaying tactics?
$15 million is being spent on the Sunshine Coast Mass Transit business case with a three-way split between the State, Federal and Local Governments.
This comes on top of millions already spent to date by Council. This route connects Caloundra and Maroochydore down Nicklin Way, Brisbane Road, Alexandra Parade and Aerodrome Road.
Interestingly, at the same time $6m is being spent on the business case for Heavy Rail to Maroochydore despite being a longer route at 36km. Heavy Rail to Maroochydore (connecting Maroochydore to Beerwah and thus Brisbane), was formerly known as CAMCOS and now is rebranded as Direct Sunshine Coast Line,
That’s $21m on business cases for two transport studies and not a shovel in the ground. Outrageous!
I asked Transport Minister Mark Bailey in Parliament if the State Government would match the Federal Government’s $1.6B commitment for heavy rail to Maroochydore (thanks Ted O’Brien and Andrew Wallace) and his answer was a slippery “wait for the business case”.
The danger with these weasel words is that the State Government needs to make decisions soon and get on with the business of building the heavy rail to Maroochydore or else the heart of the Sunshine Coast will be dragged south and will make it harder to properly connect the Sunshine Coast with a truly integrated transport network.
On news with mass transit, the Department of Transport and Main Roads has taken the lead on this business case from Council and advise they have received 114 submissions to join the Community Reference Group (CRG). This will form just one part of the consultation for the project. The CRG submissions are currently being worked through and the shortlist of about 20 members will be announced in early 2023.
No announcements have been made on consultation for the heavy rail.
I will keep fighting for heavy rail to Maroochydore as the priority public transport upgrade for the Sunshine Coast rather than never-ending business case delay tactics.