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Independent Member for Clark, Andrew Wilkie, has slammed the go-slow approach to light rail in Hobart. He will today join Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds, Glenorchy Mayor Kristie Johnston and Hobart Northern Suburbs Rail Action Group president Michael Hangan to talk about the issue.

“Three years on from the State Government’s January 2018 commitment to have the first carriages on the line within five years and progress is virtually non-existent,” Mr Wilkie said.

“Despite the promise to pull out all stops to get the Northern Suburbs line built, what do we have to show for it? Just a long-disused track littered with report after report and broken promises.

“We have $25 million in the Hobart City Deal to activate the transit corridor, so let’s just get on with it. Where is the political will to get this city-shaping project back on track?

“Yes, I’ll continue to lobby for Federal support for this project. But let’s not forget that rail is the Tasmanian Government’s responsibility and funding light rail is within its capacity to pay.

“Regrettably the State Government clearly has no genuine interest in light rail in Hobart. If we had a government with a bit of vision, getting light rail into the city would be a top priority.”

Ald Johnston said the State Government’s study to end all studies, released in November, had confirmed what the community had known all along – reintroducing passenger rail on our existing rail corridor is a no-brainer.

“The Hobart City Deal has the commitment in writing and the clock is ticking,” she said. “It’s time to stop wasting time and get on with building it. We need the infrastructure to support the jobs and demand for new houses that our $1.9 billion development pipeline in Glenorchy is creating and we need it now!”

Cr Reynolds said light rail was clearly the frontrunner in terms of driving residential development and economic activity.

“This is unsurprising if you look at any other city around the country that has used great public transport to shape city development,” she said. “We can either spend a fortune on letting Hobart sprawl into the countryside or we make smart choices for a more affordable model of development for our future.”