Two-and-a-half hours to Brisbane? Why project is crucial
THE growth corridor between the heart of Ipswich and Springfield will be choked up by traffic, with congestion costing up to $1 billion a year by 2036, unless funding is secured for a crucial public transport corridor.
Ipswich City Council has put the Ipswich Central to Springfield Central public transport corridor at the top of its checklist of needs ahead of the October state election.
The Ipswich local government area is the fastest growing region in the state.
Its population growth rate last year of 4.1 per cent was well above the state (1.7 per cent) and national (1.5 per cent) averages.
By 2041, Ipswich’s population is expected to rise from 222,000 to 558,000.
About 70 per cent of that growth is expected to happen along or adjacent to the corridor between Ipswich and Springfield.
The newly-established Ipswich Leaders Alliance, made up of business and industry leaders, was formed to put pressure on incumbents and candidates ahead of the election to deliver the infrastructure needed to keep up with the needs of the rapidly growing city.
The group, chaired by mayor Teresa Harding, are fighting for more funding from the state and federal governments.
Cr Harding said Ipswich had not been receiving its “fair share” and wants that to change.
Over the past eight years, the per-capita spend on capital expenditure on Ipswich by the State Government has been $17,700, with $33,600 spent on inner-city Brisbane over the same period.
“Over the course of the next two months we will make it clear to all candidates and parties that the Ipswich community will not be ignored,” Cr Harding said.
“We are ready to advocate for projects and policies that matter to the people of Ipswich most.
“We deserve our fair share. All candidates across the city are on notice.”
A strategic assessment compiled on the corridor, dubbed the I2S Corridor, found if it doesn’t come to fruition, Ripley residents will spend two-and-a-half hours driving into the Brisbane CBD in the mornings by 2036.
Excessive congestion is expected to cost $284 million a year in 2026 and that figure will rise to $1 billion per annum in 2036.
It was recommended to the council that four options (heavy rail, light rail, trackless trams and rapid bus transport) be taken forward to the next stage of the business case process.
That process is predicted to cost $2.5 million and take between 12 to 18 months to complete.
Ipswich Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Phil Bell is a member of the Ipswich Leaders Alliance.
“This is the first time it’s been successfully put together,” he said.
“It’s been a long time coming.
“(The Ipswich Leaders Alliance) is about getting the best deal for our region.
“I think not only economically but around our social and community cohesion, we’ve been batting above our average now for 10 years.
“I think we’ve been undervalued and under rewarded when it comes to major infrastructure and investment.
“This leaders alliance is a really good opportunity for us as a community to agree upon priorities.
“We recognise it’s been an interesting recent history for our region but this process is about looking forward.”
Read more stories by Lachlan McIvor here.