After numerous protest rallies and over 30,000 names on petitions collected locally calling for Trains On Our Tracks, six Byron Shire councillors think it’s a good idea to spend almost $900,000 per kilometre of taxpayers’ money to needlessly destroy the train line for a bike track for ‘cycling tourism’.
In 2004 the Member for Richmond, Justine Elliot, promised $150m for trains and the state opposition promised $100m for a 16-trains-a-day commuter train service. They said this service would cost less than the $2.8m cost per year of the huge, empty coaches which replaced the train service.
After politicians promised train services and a rail connection to the Queensland service for so many years, people need to ask why the state government is now willing to provide funding for a more expensive bike track on condition the train line is needlessly destroyed.
When it costs just $660,000 per kilometre to repair the line for the Solar train, spending $900,000 per kilometre to destroy the line for a bike track is not value for taxpayers’ money.
In an area desperate for sustainable, affordable, accessible public transport this is a gross misuse of taxpayers’ money. The bike track is increasing traffic in the Tweed as people drive to it in their huge gas guzzlers with their bikes on the back. Just what we need in Byron Shire.