The federal government has taken another step towards construction of the Maldon-Dombarton rail line.
Infrastructure and Transport Minister Anthony Albanese yesterday announced tenders for specialist engineers and environmental advisers to work on the design, safety and conservation issues associated with the proposed rail line.
Mr Albanese said this preparation work could stand the project in good stead for the federal government's upcoming rail construction initiative.
"Our aim is to have all these pre-construction activities wrapped up in time for the project to be considered for possible inclusion in our next multibillion-dollar road and rail construction program due to start in mid-2014," he said.
Mr Albanese said interested parties had until October 18 to respond to the tenders and the winning bidders would be appointed by the end of the year.
"As with any new, major piece of infrastructure we need to make sure that we get the planning right from the very beginning," Mr Albanese said.
"What's more, the investigations to be completed by the specialist consultants will be vital to securing the necessary planning and environmental approvals."
The Maldon-Dombarton project would involve laying 35 kilometres of track to connect Port Kembla directly to the main north-south line via Dombarton.
New bridges over the Nepean and Cordeaux rivers and one of Australia's longest tunnels would also be required.
Cunningham MP Sharon Bird said the call for tenders proved the government's commitment to the line.
"This rail link is only back on the agenda thanks to the funding we've provided since coming to office in late 2007."