Natmap transport planning consultant Paul Lombard recommended to the committee that studies be done on whether it was feasible to extend the Gautrain project to the Durban-Johannesburg and Pretoria-Polokwane lines.
He recommended the immediate institution of a rail infrastructure-owning entity, similar to the Airports Company of South Africa, that would "eventually absorb" the country's entire network and "allow existing freight and passenger agencies to operate on the network".The plan, which includes expanding the port of Saldhana, doubling the Huguenot tunnel outside Paarl and expanding the port of Cape Town as other vital projects, would cost about R750bn should it be launched today, financial project manager Themba September told Sapa.
He said part of the plan was to form partnerships with the private sector to help fund the project and lower the burden to taxpayers.
"Overall, between now and 2050, the cost of the project will be around R750bn," he said.
South Africa could qualify for foreign funding for the rail project as it had voluntarily agreed to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 46%.
"If you build a railway or a train, you are going to be cutting down the emissions from the road because there will be less vehicles emitting carbon on the roads. Because of that, we will qualify for funding which other people are getting. That money is readily available."
The Upgrading of Transport in Emerging Markets
China and the Bullet Trains: