The state of Queensland received very good news from the 2014 Australia Federal budget. The second Toowoomba Range crossing (TSRC) project received a fixed allocation of A$700 million and contingency funding of A$528 if a public private partnership if finally not used to build the road.
Total funding adds up to A$1.28 billion.
Ian MacFarlane, Australia's Minister for Industry, said:
"It's absolute confirmation the range crossing will be built."
"I believe the public/private partnership is still viable. But, if after three months we're not able to put something together, we'll move to a straight government funded option...but our primary goal is still to build the range crossing in a public/private partnership."
"Even though the money is available, it's still money the government has to borrow. If we can build it for a $700 million contribution from the Commonwealth in a partnership, that would be a great outcome."
Queensland state government launched a Registration of Interest (ROI) process for the second Toowoomba Range crossing (TSRC) project as a public private partnership in early February. The ROI closed on Friday, 7 March 2014.
63 submissions were received, ranging from international and Australian consortia through to smaller local construction companies. The Expression of Interest will be released in the near future.
The registration process will move to a formal Expression of Interest stage over the next couple of months.
A successful contractor will be named later this year, with construction expected to begin by mid-2015.
The project cost is estimated at A$1.6 billion (US$1.4 billion).
The TSRC is a bypass route to the north of Toowoomba, approximately 41km in length, running from the Warrego Highway at Helidon in the east to the Gore Highway at Athol in the west via Charlton.
Toowoomba is a city in South-East Queensland, Australia. It is located 127 km (79 mi) west of Queensland's capital city, Brisbane. Toowoomba plays a role in Queensland's transport network by acting as a hub for the Darling Downs and a gateway to the developing energy sector in the Surat Basin.
The project will provide an alternative range crossing for the increasing traffic volumes that are putting pressure on the highway network that passes through Toowoomba and over the Toowoomba Range.
The project is the largest Commonwealth Government commitment to a single regional road project in Queensland history.