Problem to be addressed
Rapid population growth on the Gold Coast is increasing demand for transport within the region and more broadly between the Gold Coast and Brisbane, and the rest of South East Queensland. The Queensland Government expects the population of the Gold Coast to grow by 55% to 928,000 people by 2041. The Gold Coast remains heavily car dependent, despite some increases in public transport trips in recent years.
Infrastructure Australia has recognised that the projected population growth will lead to congestion in the southern areas of the Gold Coast before 2031, and has listed Broadbeach-Burleigh Heads public transport connectivity as a Priority Initiative on the 2019 Infrastructure Priority List.
To address these issues, the Queensland Government and City of Gold Coast are proposing to extend the existing 20.3 kilometre Gold Coast Light Rail line between Helensvale and Broadbeach South to Burleigh Heads. This project, known as Stage 3A, would replace existing bus services between Broadbeach South and Burleigh Heads with light rail services and implement a complementary urban renewal and economic development strategy in the light rail corridor.
Economic, social and environmental value
Based on the core scenario, the proponent’s stated net present value (NPV) for the project is $56 million, with a benefit-cost ratio (BCR) of 1.1, using a 7% real discount rate and P90 capital cost estimate. Overall, Infrastructure Australia considers the total benefits of the project to be close to its total costs. The project’s strategic merit will be dependent on the appropriate land use changes being realised and mode shift to light rail being achieved, which will necessarily require proactive government policies, including strongly-focussed mode shift and traffic management policies.