FURTHER delays to the controversial Rapid Transit Project have been blamed on the complex three-tiered funding framework.
The two-month slippage means that construction on the blown out $940 million first stage will now start in March 2010.
It was one of many concerns voiced at a UDIA conference on the Gold Coast this week, including those by Peter Trathen from the Property Council, who spoke out over the continual delays and budget blow-outs. Issues were raised concerning density of transport users in certain areas and the effects on local business and other public transport industries.
Project director Tim Poole, says the three stages of funding - Federal Government, State Government and Gold Coast City Council is the reason for the delays.
“The Federal Government does not want to just throw money at this project and step back. It will keep very much involved in the longer term,” says Poole.
“The strength is in the governments working partnerships with the Gold Coast City Council.”
But there was also plenty of support. GCCC co-ordinator of transport planning David Mepham, says the Rapid Transit Project will mark the first significant decision in defining how the city evolves since the first high rise was built more than 50 years ago.
“We are looking at Europe to see how we can best provide for the city. We’re moving from a 20th century car-orientated city towards the ‘unknown’- a modern city of the 21st century,” says Mepham.
Mepham says major challenges for the project include ‘reclaiming, rethinking and replanning’ traditional transit spaces such as the Gold Coast Highway and creating new transit corridors.
“The transit solution in terms of the wider solution provides us with the opportunity to define where the city is going,” he says.
“It is a catalyst to achieve a modern city that is getting beyond the car-orientated mentality and realising sustainability with the great Gold Coast lifestyle.”
Poole also outlined the importance of private-public partnerships moving forward on the project.
“A partnership with the private sector is needed to produce long-term sustainability in the project,” says Poole.
He says once complete in 2014, the Gold Coast will be at the forefront of modern transport systems world-wide.
The conference also included a detailed presentation of the proposed Gold Coast Health and Knowledge Precinct at Parklands from the State Governments’ assistant co-ordinator for development projects.
Department of infrastructure and planning Ed Eber, says the development, which includes an expansion of Griffith University to include medical facilities and the possibility of a village to accommodate the city’s bid for the 2018 Commonwealth Games highlights the importance of the Rapid Transit System’s linkage to the university.
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