May 25, 2015

Report highlights need for better transport in Australian cities

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AN audit of Australia's infrastructure carried out for the federal government by Infrastructure Australia says that without action to improve transport, congestion could cost the country $A 53bn ($US 41.8bn) in just over 15 years while road journey times along major urban arteries would increase by 20%.

"Government, with the support of the private sector, must take decisive action to meet the nation's burgeoning infrastructure needs," says Mr Bob Herbert, interim chairman of the Australasian Railway Association (ARA) Mr Bob Herbert. "Rail infrastructure underpinning passenger transport must be in place to meet population growth which, according to the audit, will swell demand for public transport by 55% in Sydney, 121% in Melbourne and around 89% in other capital cities. This is a massive challenge and it will require an imaginative approach as to how best to invest, fund and finance these infrastructure necessities."

ARA also says it supports the report's key findings for railfreight infrastructure, in particular the benefits of growth in rail's modal share, which is expected to increase by 80% by 2031.

"Rail will need to play a growing role in the movement of goods between ports and inland freight terminals, as well as the movement of containerised and general freight over longer distances," says Herbert. "Short-haul rail utilisation between ports and intermodal terminals is another key issue for rail freight infrastructure and we need the support of the federal government to help primary industries, such as mining and agriculture, have a greater ability to move their goods on rail reliably and competitively."

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