Burleigh tram link ‘stuck at the platform’
FIFTY years after the last tram ran its service in Brisbane, plenty of people still wonder why someone thought it was a good idea to get rid of them.
Five years after the first tram ran along the line from the hospital to Broadbeach, I'm sure there's many Gold Coast residents who are already forgetting how it was before the light rail.
It was a long and contested journey to get to that first service.
The Gold Coast City Council put trams in its plans as far back as 1996, and the first studies backed by State and Federal governments started in 2002.
The wait was more than worth it though.
More than 42 million passengers have taken a ride on the 'G' since services began in July 2014.
The $420 million stage 2 light rail extension between the Gold Coast University Hospital and Helensvale station opened in 2017 has seen patronage continue to surge.
Light rail was integral to the success of the Commonwealth Games and became an unofficial mascot of the event.
It's also become something of a transport planning superstar, regularly cited by Australia's urban planners as a shining example of how to successfully deliver transformative projects in growing cities.
The success of stages one and two has proved if you build infrastructure the right way and make sure if connects efficiently with other transport and popular destinations, people will use it.
Starting the next stage from Broadbeach to Burleigh is the next milestone we're now working toward.
Funding negotiations with the federal government to date means the project is stuck at the platform currently.
However, all three levels of government contributed a fair share of funding to build light rail's earlier two stages, and I remain confident we will do it again once fair federal funding is committed to keep this Gold Coast success story on track to Burleigh.
Mark Bailey is the Queensland Transport Minister.