Chris Abraham, Mullum Creek
As far as I am aware, feasibility studies are rarely undertaken to justify the construction of a new road, or for upgrading an existing road. However, for new or upgrading railways, governments will not proceed unless a feasibility study is done. This gives roads an unfair advantage over rail and this results in a greater emphasis on road construction.
The cost of upgrading, say, the Pacific Highway between Ballina and Grafton could never be justified on the basis of the type of feasibility study that would have to be undertaken for a railway. The latter, like a bus service, offers public transport and most of these services are subsidised by government. Huge sums of money are set aside in our cities for road and rail projects to reduce congestion, but little, if anything, is set aside for regional railways.
If the carbon footprint of road and rail transport was included in any feasibility study, rail would look much more attractive. It is time that governments in Australia became more visionary and examined the trend in Europe where railways are being reopened and, in addition to other benefits, this reduces the carbon footprint when compared with new or upgraded roads.
This is a good reason for retaining the Casino to Murwillumbah railway and not to allow the tracks to be removed for a rail trail, which could be constructed off the formation. Please open your eyes politicians. A significant percentage of the voting public and businesses in Murwillumbah and Mullumbimby have been surveyed and see the tangible benefits of reopening the Casino to Murwillumbah railway. If Australia is truly a democracy the public should be heard before this railway is abandoned forever by allowing a rail trail to be constructed on top of the existing tracks.