US company offers to fund $250m elevated rail on Coast

A US company is offering to commit $250 million to privately fund an elevated rail public transport system on the Sunshine Coast.

American Maglev Technology Inc has pledged to fully fund stage one of the route, which would link the Maroochydore CBD with the Sunshine Coast University Hospital by late 2016 - provided it has the co-operation of Sunshine Coast Council and the State Government.

Maglev, which is derived from magnetic levitation, uses the power of opposing magnetic fields to raise and propel vehicles rather than using wheels.

Maglev system trains already operate in Japan, South Korea and China.

The Sunshine Coast system would be five metres off the ground and use existing road corridors. It would be driverless and low noise.

The trains would travel at less than 100kmh and would run every five minutes.

In later stages the plan is to connect Caloundra, Mooloolaba, the university, Sippy Downs and the airport.

American Maglev Technology representative Dick Rowe said a study undertaken by a Brisbane firm showed a sufficient level of interest among residents and tourists.

"The Coast market was seen by the company as an attractive market for development as it met a number of preferred project criteria," he said.

This included the fact that it was at a relatively early stage of traffic congestion, meaning the new infrastructure could be built before the need became critical.

The plan was unveiled at an Urban Development Institute of Australia breakfast yesterday.

UDIA Sunshine Coast president Andrew Stevens said the project showed confidence in the region.

"This is very exciting to have private investment that is prepared to spend a quarter of a billion dollars in a piece of infrastructure that has been lacking on the Sunshine Coast," he said.



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