A CRITICAL section of the $8.4 billion Inland Rail project connecting to Toowoomba’s western fringes is no closer to being decided on as the Federal Government continues to evaluate four route options.
The tri-state Melbourne to Brisbane project was part of a $20 billion federal spend on rail infrastructure in the May 10 Budget this year.
Five of the 13 sections are in Queensland, with builder Australian Rail Track Corporation moving on four of them – but not the link from the NSW border to Toowoomba.
The decision rests with Federal Infrastructure and Transport Minister Darren Chester who said he was “carefully considering” a report examining four route options.
The Yelarbon to Gowrie section will skirt the western fringes of Toowoomba and link up to the decided-on Gowrie to Helidon line.
“It is important that I balance the social, economic and environmental impacts, and benefits, of each route,” Mr Chester told The Chronicle.
“This is a once-in-a- generation project that will transform freight movement and will create jobs during construction and into the future.
“I am carefully considering the Project Reference Group report, expert advice and direct feedback provided by local residents.”
The Project Reference Group report will not be made public despite other documents outlining residents’ concerns being readily available online.
Those documents include meeting minutes and outcomes of public consultation sessions with communities along the four proposed routes.
Meanwhile the ARTC this month released the final terms of reference for the environmental impact statement stage of the Gowrie to Helidon section.
The route, costed at $1.35 billion, includes cutting a 6.3km…
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