Planning underway for Gold Coast Airport stage of light rail

6 August 2020, Written by Business News Australia

Planning underway for Gold Coast Airport stage of light rail

Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has today confirmed a business case is now being planned for Stage 4 of the Gold Coast light rail, which would see Burleigh connected to the Coolangatta Airport.

Studies for the project, to be funded 50/50 by the state government and the City of Gold Coast, will also explore east-west bus and light rail connections to improve transit from Nerang and Robina to the coast.

"This business case will support the next critical steps needed to push major transport investments on the Gold Coast forward which is vital for Queensland's economic recovery," Premier Palaszczuk said today.

"This is about building a pipeline of projects that can continue to support and create jobs, boost our economy and improve transport for locals, particularly those living on the southern end of the Gold Coast.

The Premier highlighted how the $1 billion M1 upgrade between Varsity Lakes to Tugun was underway now, and a contract would soon be awarded for the next stage of Gold Coast Light Rail from Broadbeach to Burleigh, creating 760 jobs.

"I want to thank Mayor Tom Tate for his continued support for light rail, this partnership funding means we can now start planning for the 13km corridor from Burleigh Heads to Coolangatta," the she said.

City of Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said the southern light rail link was of strategic importance to the Gold Coast, Queensland and New South Wales.

"It will result in a 40km public transport spine linking key employment, transport, health and education nodes, with an opportunity to also connect with the growing northern New South Wales economic region," Mayor Tate said.

"I thank the Queensland Government for their commitment to this business case.

"The entire light rail project is an example of the great things that can be delivered when all 3 levels of government work together collaboratively and I expect Stage 4 to prove that once again."

He hopes to break ground on Stage 4 as soon as Stage 3 is finished.

Transport and Main Roads Minister Mark Bailey said the partnership with Council had been critical for supporting light rail on the Gold Coast.

"Earlier this year, G:link celebrated its 50 millionth passenger trip since services began in July 2014," Minister Bailey said.

"Much like its famous beaches and surfside towers, the iconic blue and yellow trams are now inextricably linked with the Gold Coast's identity.

"We're underway with stage 3, and now we're moving forward with plans for stage 4 and beyond."

Member for Gaven Meaghan Scanlon said work would start this year on the $5 million light rail Stage 4 (previously known as Stage 3B) business case, as well as on the $2 million east-west transport corridors study.

"The study into those key east-west road corridors will determine short and long-term options to improve public transport, including rapid bus services and whether they can accommodate future spur lines for light rail," Scanlon said.

"Building light rail is a priority, but we also need to plan for the future of public transport on these key east-west arterial routes."

Scanlon said the east-west transport study would assess the potential for light rail to connect to Metricon Stadium and look at locations for infrastructure such as bus stops and stations, electric vehicle charging requirements and depot infrastructure along those corridors.

"With work rapidly progressing on stage 1 of the Coomera Connector, which will connect to Nerang Broadbeach Road near Metricon Stadium, this is the ideal time to be putting plans in place for future public transport," she said.

Minister Bailey said a survey of southern Gold Coast residents and businesses conducted in March and April this year showed a clear preference for light rail to run along the highway between Burleigh and Tugun.

"The survey revealed 58 per cent of respondents backed the light rail extension from Burleigh Heads to Tugun compared to 25 per cent who preferred bus lanes," he said.

"The resounding message from many residents was that taking this approach would result in improved walking and cycling paths, reduced traffic congestion and a faster and easier journey for commuters."

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