For the third time in eight years, and with its fourth premier, the Queensland government has to start from scratch to find a new cross river rail line for Brisbane. South East Queensland has a growing rail congestion problem because it has only one rail bridge across the Brisbane River.

In 2007 Beattie unveiled SEQ’s Inner City Rail Capacity Study which clearly said the region needed a new rail bridge by 2016 because the Merivale Rail Bridge could not cope. In 2009 Anna Bligh’s government put together the $7 billion cross river rail twin-tunnel project and released the first concepts in 2010. In 2012 Campbell Newman scrapped Labor’s Cross River Rail plan and introduced the Brisbane’s Bus and Train (BaT) project, a single tunnel concept that included buses and trains underground.

And, now Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has ditched the BaT Plan, with Infrastructure Minister and Deputy Premier Jackie Trad confirming on Thursday that model would not go ahead. "The BaT tunnel was given up when Lawrence Springborg appeared on Fairfax Radio and said asset sales and the BaT tunnel were off the agenda," Trad said. "What Labor will do is progress a second rail crossing for Brisbane, but we will progress it with the federal government."
She said she had discussed the project with Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and would again approach Infrastructure Australia.
Infrastructure Australia is the independent infrastructure agency which prioritises large infrastructure projects on behalf of states for the federal government.

In 2013 Infrastructure Australia rated the Cross River Rail project as "ready to proceed", with the then Queensland government seeking AUD 3.4bn for the AUD 4bn project.

By mid 2013 no agreement could be reached between the governments in order to get the project off the ground.

"We know that this was the number one public infrastructure project that Infrastructure Australia said needed to be built in order for Brisbane to grow into the future," Trad said. "Labor is committed to continuing to lobby the federal government to make sure that we can build a second rail crossing to stop the rail crisis that will hit the southeast corner in 2016."

Meanwhile Infrastructure Partnerships Australia chief executive Brendan Lyon said the question would always come back to the money, despite the well-recognised need for the project.

"The Cross River Rail is going from important to urgent given the growth in patronage on Brisbane’s rail network and the fact that every train will be full to bursting point in just a few short years," Lyon said. He added that the Queensland government needed to explore a public private partnership to get the project operating.

"A new rail crossing of Brisbane’s river needs to be a top order priority for Queensland, but finding the money to pay for it is going to be hard given the challenging budget and high levels of existing debt," Mr Lyon said.

"While the state would be wise to use a PPP to finance the project, there will still need to be budget capacity to repay the cost over time."