Mayors unite in push for rail line
LIFE for many Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley district seniors would be easier if they could just hop a train rather than battling the traffic and paying high prices for parking in Brisbane.
The mayors of both regions declared recently planning for passenger rail between Toowoomba and Brisbane "needs to start yesterday", with $15 million having been pledged by the Commonwealth Government in the 2018 Budget.
"In almost all other parts of southeast Queensland, people commute to work by train between cities and regions, and right now it's an opportunity denied to both the Lockyer Valley and Australia's largest naturally established inland city, Toowoomba," Lockyer Valley Regional Council Mayor Tanya Milligan said.
Toowoomba Mayor Paul Antonio said the economic opportunities and connections for the Toowoomba Region were both significant and obvious.
"Toowoomba is the gateway to western and southern Queensland and is a major residential, business and tourism centre," he said.
"It's important to remember that we have an ageing population, so a passenger rail would be a substantial asset and one that would allow all of our residents to commute throughout Toowoomba and the surrounding areas with much more ease."
He said it would also take more vehicles off the road, improving traffic flow throughout southeast Queensland.
National Seniors Australia Toowoomba branch president Desma Lindenbaur said many seniors would welcome the service, particularly at seniors' discount prices.
While many seniors do still drive, it only takes one small accident to bring traffic on the Range to a halt, and the high cost of parking in Brisbane also needs to be considered, she said.
There also comes the time when you feel you do need to stop driving, or might not want to cope with city traffic, making getting to appointments, seeing family or taking part in sport or cultural events more difficult.
"The proposed 2032 Olympic Games in SEQ is expected to bring events, teams and visitors to the region and, along with the Toowoomba Wellcamp Airport, we need sensible and forward-thinking passenger services," Mr Antonio said.
"As the Federal Government encourages communities to manage future droughts through diversification, we have an opportunity sitting before us now to open up these regions and make that happen."