STUDY: High-Speed Rail Could Cost Half The Price Of Previous Estimates

High speed rail. Photo: Getty Images

Travel between Australia’s major cities has been limited to Red Bull-powered road trips and lengthy Greyhound coach journeys but a new study has revealed the possibility that high-speed rail could be constructed between Melbourne and Brisbane for almost half the price of previous government estimates.

The study, “The Potential Impacts of High Speed Passenger Rail to Eastern Australia”, reveals that a high-speed rail connection along Australia’s east coast could be built for $63 billion (or $35 million per km).

This cost estimate works out to be 45 per cent less than the Federal Government’s original $114 billion assessment.

Australasian Railway Association (ARA) chief executive Bryan Nye said the new estimate is based on a comparison of construction costs from a range of other countries and supports the need for project commitment and commencement.

“Prices haven’t come down, instead this new $63 billion price tag is a reflection of current international construction costs,” Nye said, adding “these construction costs are why the project needs to be put out to the global market.”

Nye said developers in Europe, Japan and China could help to inform Australia on how to fund, construct and operate a high-speed rail network.

He also highlighted the benefits high-speed rail has had on regional areas in other countries.

“High-speed rail is proven to entice populations out of capital cities and open up regional areas,” he said.

The study states that by 2061, 83 per cent of Victorians will live in Melbourne, 74 per cent of New South Wales’ population will live in Sydney, and 52 per cent of Queenslanders will call Brisbane home.

“If we continue as we are, Australia will be home to mega cities with little in between; our cities will be bursting at the seams,” Nye said.

The study was commissioned by the ARA and completed by Aurecon.

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