The Federal Government is seeking proposals for the development of business cases to bring faster rail to Australian urban and regional areas as part of the Faster Rail Prospectus.

Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Darren Chester, and Minister for Urban Infrastructure, Paul Fletcher, launched the Faster Rail Prospectus in September 2017, which will start the process of bidding to build faster rail services.

The announcement follows a $20 million commitment by the Australian Government to investigate faster rail options in the 2017–18 Budget.

“For the many commuters in regional and outer urban areas, faster rail has the potential to have a significant impact on their quality of life by allowing them to spend more time at home, and less time travelling,” Mr Chester said.

“This initiative will explore improvements to the rail connections between our cities and surrounding regional areas through $20 million in funding to support the development of business cases.”

Mr Fletcher said the prospectus began the call for proposals process, with the Australian Government seeking business cases that demonstrate faster rail travel times through new or upgraded rail infrastructure, continuing its commitment to investment in high-quality rail infrastructure.

“In addition, business cases must outline initiatives that will increase housing choices by opening up regional areas, encourage job and career opportunities, and improve access to specialist services for people in regional areas, as well as major events,” Mr Fletcher said.

“Proposals are open for application to both State Governments and the private sector, including consortia arrangements, with submissions for high-level stage one proposals closing on 13 October 2017.

“Ultimately, the best three proposals will receive Australian Government co-funding towards business case development, with the final business cases then progressing to Infrastructure Australia for assessment.

“I am looking forward to seeing which of these proposals progress to this final stage, and to working with stakeholders over coming years as we roll-out our $20 billion investment in rail infrastructure that was announced in the 2017–18 Budget, including the commitment to invest ten billion dollars over ten years under the National Rail Program.”

The Faster Rail Prospectus can be accessed here.

Proposal submissions close 13 October 2017.

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