Costa dismisses independent XPT report

By ALEX EASTON

NORTHERN Rivers Trains for the Future has lashed NSW Transport Minister Michael Costa's dismissal of a report outlining ways to return the train to the region. Northern Rivers Trains for the Future spokeswoman Karin Kolbe accused Mr Costa of showing no interest in returning the Northern Rivers train after he this week dismissed an independent report saying the train could be returned at a relatively low cost. A spokesman for Mr Costa did not return calls yesterday. In a statement released this week, Mr Costa said the PriceWaterhouseCoopers report, in part, justified the government's decision to scrap the Northern Rivers XPT. However, he also canned the report, saying it was based on wrong assumptions, such as an increase in train patronage of 60 per cent at a time when fewer people were catching trains. Ms Kolbe yesterday defended that assumption, saying a friendlier timetable, combined with the region's general population growth and its public transport-reliant aged population growth, would make it realistic. "That sort of (comment) is a furphy," Ms Kolbe said. "Costa refuses to see anything except in absolute black and white. "It's just, what Costa says is what happens."



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