Fast train: The people say yes, now we just need $84 billion

MORE than 500 people have voted in a poll that gives overwhelming support to the idea of an east coast fast train with stops at regional centres, including Lismore.

A report by non-profit environmental research group Beyond Zero Emissions makes a new proposal for a high speed rail service along Australia's east coast, connecting Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne and with stops at 11 regional centres and seven major cities, Lismore, the Gold Coast, Grafton, and Coffs Harbour among them.

The report suggests the network could be built for $84 billion - about $30 billion less than suggested in the last major report on a fast train - and would allow people to move between the Sydney and Melbourne or Sydney and Brisbane in less than three hours.

A story this week on the project and claims it could be in operation by 2025 was greeted with scepticism by some -including an assertion even the phrase "sceptical" when applied to the fast train was an understatement.

Considering the history of fast train projects in Australia, that seems fair enough. However, it's also true the Australian government has been meeting with rail companies from Japan, China, Spain and France to talk about high speed rail and that Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss has publicly backed the Beyond Zero Emissions report.

And whether we believe the train's coming or not, it certainly appears we'd be keen to have it.

An online poll that ran between Tuesday night and noon yesterday was voted on by a total 555 people, with close to three-quarters giving unqualified support to a fast train with a stop at Lismore.

Another 23% of those polls said they would use a fast train provided the timetabling and ticket prices were right, with only 9% saying they would not use the service.

Would you use a high speed rail service running to Sydney, Brisbane, and Melbourne?

This poll ended on 28 August 2014.

Absolutely! - 70%

Yes, depending on timetables and ticket costs - 23%

No - 5%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

So a fast train has the clear support of the public, now it just needs the $84 billion needed to pay for it.

Over to you Mr Hockey.

Topics:  fast train high speed rail

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