Mayor backs Toowoomba fast rail plan after strong polls
TOOWOOMBA Mayor Paul Antonio believes polling results showing strong support for a fast rail link between the region and Brisbane was a sign the project needed to be fast-tracked.
New polling data by ReachTel, commissioned by the Council of Mayors South East Queensland, showed nearly 90 per cent of more than 2000 residents living in the southeast corner would back a fast rail rollout.
Cr Antonio, who is also the COMSEQ deputy chair, said the wider region's councils were ready to work with higher levels of government to achieve the project.
"We do expect there to be a partnership between ourselves and the federal government and the business sector (in the future)," he said.
"If you could leave Toowoomba and arrive in the Brisbane CBD 45-60 minutes later, that would be extraordinary.
"This is not just about Toowoomba - it includes a critical line between Ipswich, the Lockyer and ourselves.
"In 2041 there will be five million people in SEQ - we need public transport to be as efficient as we can have it."
The polling also showed people would be more likely to voted for a candidate in the upcoming state election if they favoured the project.
The Federal Government is currently completing a business case into a potential fast rail plan, and whether it would be feasible.
Cr Antonio said COMSEQ was concerned the document would lack proper community and business consultation before it was released.
"We want the community heavily involved in the study - we don't want that study to just be about what a bureaucrat thinks.
"There are some real concerns of my mayoral colleagues and myself that it might not include input from the business and general community."
The business case was announced late last year and is expected to be finished by the middle of next year.
Cr Antonio said any fast passenger rail plan would need to fit in with the upcoming Inland Rail project.
"It does mean there needs to be some serious thought considered for the tunnel for the Inland Rail through the Toowoomba range," he said.