Preliminary estimates indicated that R500bn would be required for the construction of the Gauteng-to-Durban corridor, of which an estimated R100bn would be needed for the development of the port precinct, Transport Minister Sbu Ndebele said in Parliament late last week.
The minister confirmed that the envisaged project would include a high-speed rail link between Durban and Gauteng.
Delivering his budget vote speech in the highly charged atmosphere of opposition to e-tolling, which comes into effect on Monday, Ndebele outlined the projects that would be included in the Durban-Johannesburg corridor.
These were selling the Durban International Airport property to Transnet for the establishment of a dig-out port, the development of Cato Ridge as a dry port, the extension of a commuter rail line to Pietermaritzburg, and the development of Harrismith as a logistics hub, and of a Gauteng logistics hub including Tambo-Springs, Central Rand and City Deep.
"We have taken a firm decision to prioritise the 2050 vision for the Durban-Johannesburg corridor transport improvements that will enhance the freight industry and open up more opportunities to grow the sector," the minister said.
The corridor would be the foundation of a southern African regional freight corridor. Other projects
Other strategic projects were the development of the North West corridor and the Moloto corridor.
A steering committee chaired by the director-general of transport, George Mahlalela, and consisting of representatives from the Gauteng and Mpumalanga provincial governments, Tshwane and six other local municipalities along the corridor, would commence work on a feasibility study for the Moloto corridor project next month and report back in the next 18 months.
Ndebele said the green paper on national rail transport policy would be launched by the end of June. It would cover freight, long-distance passenger and commuter rail, focusing on investment and modern technology. "It will address the regulatory framework required, particularly economic regulation, infrastructure and operations. It will also make proposals regarding the investment required to restore rail to its rightful place in our economy."
The department was also finalising a draft maritime shipping policy, to be taken to the Cabinet by the end of next month.
Ndebele said the annual maintenance requirement for the road network was R88bn, though in the 2012-13 financial year only R38bn was allocated.
Source: Business Day
via I-Net Bridge